A list of homophobic things People need to stop saying
This is a list of sayings and assumptions that might appear harmless, but are actually homophobic. Although it’s mostly straight people who use these terms, it can also happen that even gay guys and girls sometimes use the very same words. Being exposed to mildly homophobic language on TV or in the media can make us all confused about what we can and can’t say. So here it is, a list of shady things people all need to stop saying. If you are enlightened enough to have already removed these terms from your everyday parlance, well done! You are on your way to being a next level gay rights activist. The next step is to call people out when they do it around you.
Related: The Sound of Stigma
1. You don’t seem that gay.
What does this even mean? “You don’t seem that gay.” So all gay people have to be super gay, or there’s something up? Or more often, it means that being gay is somehow abnormal or irregular, but you don’t come across as gay so you are ‘normal’ and ‘regular’. Even if it’s your best friend or your sister, this is a homophobic comment pure and simple. It may be coming from a good place, and they might even mean it as a compliment. Suggesting that you seem like a straight person, to them is a good thing. Listen up ladies and gents, “I am what I am and what I am, needs no excuses.”
2. Which of you is the man and which is the woman?
Hello heterosexuals, you live in a world where everything is built for you and designed with you in mind, movies, books, love songs, department stores, restaurants, public transport, the whole WORLD is for you. So of course, you think all relationships follow your template, a man to do man stuff like earn the higher wage and bring home the bacon, a woman to bear children and bake cakes. That’s a super misogynistic POV, and we are more focused on homophobia right now. It’s important to point out that women can be the higher wage earners and men can do everything women can do, including baking. Anyway, gay relationships do not fall into this binary heteronormative mold. And to make it even more complicated, actually sometimes they do. But asking who’s the guy and who’s the girl, reduces our rich and beautiful community to some kind of sideshow imitation of your mainstream world – this is insulting.
Bonus Point: It’s ok to be curious as long as we can be equally curious back, but it is not ok to assume. So please feel free to ask me if we can talk about the LGBTQ community, but don’t assume I’m the spokesperson for all of gaykind.
3. Who’s the top and who’s the bottom?
This shows that you know something about gay people. Cool, well done! As mentioned earlier, being curious is fine, as long as it’s equal and mutual. Can we be curious about you too? Tell us, does your partner take it in the ass, and when he or she does, is it clean or mucky down there? If we were to ask you, are you a fan of doggy style, backwards cowgirl, or do you prefer missionary – how would you feel? When you ask us about our sex life, we should be allowed to ask you about yours. When assumption is coupled with curiosity, you are flying close to the flame of ignorance and abuse. Assuming that only one of us is a top and one is a bottom is a huge assumption. If we like you, maybe we’ll talk about it. If we’ve never met you before, move along sucker. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If the question enhances your life, or is a nice attempt towards getting closer to us, give it a shot. We’ll usually tell you when you’ve gone too far, and always be prepared to answer your own question turned back on you.
4. Who will wear the dress on your wedding day?
This is not funny; it isn’t original, clever, sweet or charming. It is insulting, demeaning and degrading and makes you look like a toad. Keep your silly patronizing thoughts to yourself, and find a better way to react to the good news. Maybe just say congratulations.
5. All gay men are sex crazy (promiscuous).
We are a minority primarily defined by a sex act. We are often totally reduced to this one sex act, and that can cause our entire beautiful complex community narrative to be glossed over. This assumes we are not musicians, artists, or poets – we are only anal sex. We are not fathers, brothers, best friends, or boyfriends – we are only anal sex. We are not soldiers, policemen, politicians, and teachers – we are only anal sex. We are not adventurers, freedom fighters and gay activists – we are only anal sex. Just because we are attracted to the same genitals as the ones we were born with, does not mean we’re all sex crazy. The generalization that all gay men are promiscuous paralyzes society’s ability to respect us as decent folk, which many of us actually are. Take your cheeky observation back to the rock you usually hide under. The sun might come out unexpectedly today, and you could burst into flames.
6. That’s so gay.
To be honest, a lot of gay people use this too and it’s something we all need to work harder at avoiding. A long time ago it became cool to say something was ‘gay’ when you meant it was stupid or terrible. Well, this has the effect, when a lot of actual gay people hear it, somewhere in the back of our minds our self-worth drops. It associates being gay with something that’s not right. It’s even worse for guys in the closet, as it makes it harder for them to come out. It shows why campaigns like It gets better and No H8 are much needed in the world. Instead of being gay terrible, it should gay wonderful. This is a battle we need to unite on. Please use gay as a positive term, or avoid it as a ‘cool’ and ‘sarcastic’ remark. The negativity resounds more deeply than you’d think.
7. My friend is gay, you must know each other?
Oh ya? My friend is stupid and ugly, do you know each other?
8. I know a gay guy, I’m going to set you up.
Really? I mean REALLY! “Oh, he’s gay, you’re gay, you must be a perfect match.” Let’s not get too angry on this point. Again, like much of the casual homophobia listed above, a lot of it comes from an innocent but also ignorant place. Seriously, who likes being set up? We’re not looking for you to hook us up with your only other single gay friend. ROMEO connects us to millions of gay guys around the world, and we can filter and edit to find our Prince Charming. No one needs to go through any awkward meeting/blind date.
9. When did you decide to be gay?
Oh, that’s an easy one. we all decided to be gay on ‘Gay Day’. It’s the sixth day of the ninth month. A unicorn shows up at the gay gates of Queertown and escorts you directly to your first Pride festival. But seriously, no one decides to be gay. Some may take longer than others to figure it out, but we are born this way. Lady Gaga has made millions on this fact. Try to reshape the question: When did you come out? Or, what was it like to be gay in school, etc?
10. Why isn’t there a straight pride?
Because every day of your life is straight pride. Straight people did not have to band together fearing incarceration or execution to fight for the right to be straight. Nowhere in the world is it illegal to be straight. You don’t get to have a straight pride because you don’t need one. And please, for the love of god stop asking this misguided and infuriatingly egocentric ignorant question. We get one day in the year to march with dignity and until homophobia no longer exists, we’re not giving it up.
Dear Straight People
Thank you for reading this passionate list of terribly shady things straight people say. To be fully equal and fair, gay people slip up from time to time too, and it’s a significant achievement to have reached a point where we can talk about gay culture. Projecting your point of view onto us is understandable, but not excusable. The more we talk about these matters, the more we begin to understand and grow. We love straight people. Some of our best friends are straight and we were raised by straight people, so thanks for that. Also, gay parents don’t make gay children. For nearly all of history, straight people have made gay children.
Peace out, much love,
Is there anything you’d like to mention about homophobia? Did you find this piece offensive, or was it useful? We’d love to hear from you. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homophobic language really upsets me.