Awkward Questions

  1. How long have you known you’re heterosexual?
  2. Why do you feel the need to behave in ways that reinforce negative heterosexual stereotypes?
  3. Why do you allow your heterosexuality to affect so much of your life?
  4. Did you choose _this hobby_ or _that kind of music_ because of your sexuality?
  5. Must you really behave(or dress) in a way that flaunts your heterosexuality(or makes it so hard to ignore)?
  6. How did the people in your life react when they realized you are attracted to the opposite sex?
  7. Does the fact you’re a heterosexual make family events awkward?
  8. Does your church know that you’re heterosexual?
  9. Have you ever been in a socially awkward situation because of your heterosexuality?
  10. Are you ever attracted to the same sex, maybe just a little?
  11. Don’t you ever wonder if you might be mistaken about your sexuality?

Of course most of these questions seem a little awkward when they are phrased around “heterosexuality”.  Change them to suit the word homosexuality, and you find a lot of questions that a gay person is expected to answer when they tell someone unacquainted with homosexuality that they are, in fact, attracted to people of the same sex.  It’s the awkward truth that all that is taken for granted about someone who is heterosexual is questioned in someone who is homosexual.  For me, life comes easily.  The fact that I am a wife, a stay at home mother, an active member of my church is not solely about my sexual orientation and goes unquestioned.  Change my orientation and my choice of life partner, and suddenly everything may be questioned.

Sometimes I just imagine the shoe being on the other foot.  It seems like it might be a tad uncomfortable.


14 thoughts on “Awkward Questions

  1. Oh lindsey, You did it again. I know you are not gay but you have such respect and love for all of God’s children…..I have no doubt if we were to meet you and I would sit down to a cup of coffee and be able to talk. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we left the topic of sexuality behind and talked more of living in rural America, of watching chicks hatch, and discussing how we want our kids to be raised.

    I imagine hours spent talking about canning apples and making pies. About talking how to make good homemade saurkraut. And once in a while being gay would be discussed. And maybe those questions would come up, but it would done in such a respectful way that I would never feel discriminated against or uncomfortable. But answering those questions as asked a gay woman…
    1. All my life.
    2. I don’t I act just like me…That’s all I can be.
    3. It is a part of my life, not the totallity but a major part just the same.
    4. No I am a nerd no matter my orientation.
    5. I dress to be comfortable, same as you. I bet in mid Feb. we dress the same:)
    6. I was fortunate that my family accepted me for who I am. Many are not so lucky.
    7. Not anymore than anything else. My family accepts me. But it is interesting when my ex and his gf is here with me and my gf.
    8. The minister does and so do most of the rest. It has been uncomfortable, but not unbearable.
    9. Not yet, but I plan to do that next week when The ex-sister in law meets my gf.
    10. Not at all, but I was married to a man. So maybe I am not the best one to answer this question.
    11. After years of fighting it and being close to suicide…no!!!

  2. Lindsey: I have a feeling that we are on the same brain wavelength at times; I am putting together a post in my mind about stereotypes, and this gave me more ideas of how to word that. These questions are actually an exercise that I have done in the past when offering trainings on issues related to gay and lesbian identity. I have been asked some of these questions, but not all of them. Thanks for this, and for your ongoing support and desire to let us be known……

  3. Lindsey, just looking at these questions is an eye-opener, in terms of how intrusive they are (among other things)… You keep on challenging our (well, my) perceptions and prejudices, and that’s a very good thing!

  4. I just LOVE when you switch things around like that. You could do the same about “meat eaters” (as vegetarians are expected to answer a bunch of questions why they’re vegetarians) and all kinds of stuff.
    I read a blog post a few months ago about an article of a specific Swedish troop in the army. Their emblem was the typical European standing lion with tounge out holding sword – and a visible penis. Apparently, since Sweden became so “enlightened” the women in this troop started protesting this, and demanded to castrate the lion. They threatened to bring it to a EU court, and the military people didn’t want to take up that fight.
    Besides the fact that these types of symbols come from a time when “castrated” lions were symbols of insult, given to noble families where someone had betrayed the king, the lion is still male. So what exactly did they accomplish?
    The blog post was simply brilliant, and turned it around. “There are male attorneys working in the Swedish state department, and they have felt discriminated because of the miss Fortuna emblem, and demanded to cut off her breasts”.

    It was beautiful!

    Original newspaper article about the lion with pictures “before” and “after” is here

  5. I second everyone above, showing the other side of the spectrum, one that not many take the time to do – Flip society on its head and its a totally different story. Incredible, seriously, incredible! Wow!

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  7. Thank you Lindsey! I wish I had those questions to email to my brother who was asking me such things last month! I found myself “explaining” myself and then resenting that he asked me afterward! You have the knack for putting these matters into perspective. Knowing there is someone like you out there gives me hope that other “straight Christians” are capable of reason and compassion.
    PS-How about these questions:
    “When you came to visit with your partner were you trying to clue us all in to your lifestyle?”
    “How can you expect us to come visit you when we are uncomfortable with who you live with?”
    Would those ever be asked of a straight family member?

  8. bridgeout re. a straight family member and this question (““How can you expect us to come visit you when we are uncomfortable with who you live with?”), I think the answer’s “Yes.” (Could be that they aren’t married, partner/gf/bf is “wrong” religion, skin color, nationality, too old/young, too whatever…)

  9. Excellent post. I have no idea what the rest of your site is about as I have not had time to look. However, terrific of you for putting the shoe on the other foot.

  10. Everyone: Thanks!

    e2c, bridgeout: Ah… good points. And I agree: heterosexuals can get marginalized by choosing the wrong partner. It is just doubly bad for homosexuals, who start out wrong even if they find the perfect Jewish doctor who is just the wrong gender.

  11. Very good post. I certaintly wouldn’t want to feel that i have to answer all these questions

    But I would make one point. Sometimes people ask questions, not to make you justify your actions, but in fact to learn more about you. My sister is always happy to answer questions about being gay to other people, because she believes that it helps disprove some myths and make her culture seem less threatening/alien to straight people.

    Having said that, if people are being intrusive and trying to get you to justify yourself, than don’t bother humoring them.

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