Eight questions straight people should quit asking gay people

A straight couple

Whether well intentioned or not, straight people can sometimes ask gay people awkward, crass or offensive questions.

If such questions come from a genuine desire to learn more, we may be understanding. If they come from a place of bigotry or intolerance, it’s a different matter.

Either way, here’s a handful of the more common ones, along with reasons for why people should think twice before asking them.

Can you think of any others? Post your own suggestions below.

1. ‘When did you decide to be gay?’

Apparently, this still needs explaining. Imagine if someone asked you, a heterosexual, ‘When did you decide to be straight?’ You’d probably struggle for an answer.

For gay people, it’s just the same. It makes it sound like being gay is a choice, which it is not.

Perhaps the person asking actually means: ‘When did you decide to come out and embrace your sexuality?’ If that’s the case, that’s how it should be phrased, but again, asking someone ‘When did you decide to embrace your gayness?’ might not sit well with some people. We wouldn’t ask: ‘When did you decide to embrace your heterosexuality.’

Sexuality is individual and unique. It’s something that tends to dawn upon us in late childhood or early adolescence. For some people, awareness comes later, but it’s not something we choose or decide.

Sadly, there are still gay people who ‘decide’ they will try and be heterosexual in order to keep families or friends happy. It only leads to a whole heap of unhappiness.

2. ‘What do you actually do in bed?’

Or ‘How does butt sex work?’ Or ‘How do lesbians have sex?’

If we want to talk to you about our sex lives, we will bring it up in conversation. If your best friend is gay and then want some relationship or sex advice, then granted the conversation may go down this route… but let’s be honest: Often times it’s just invasive curiosity. It’s also none of your business.

If you are so curious about what gay people do in bed, there is no lack of videos online which will demonstrate. Just google it instead of putting a gay person on the spot.

Oh, and if you’re a straight guy, asking two women, ‘Can I watch?’ is also a big no-no and not amusing.

3. ‘Are you the man or the woman?’

This question shows you presume same-sex relationships can only work if they ape a heteronormative template: a template loaded with centuries of societal expectations over who does what according to gender.

Just don’t ask. Instead, question why anyone needs to be seen as the ‘man’ or ‘woman’.

4. ‘Do you know my gay cousin, John?’

Being gay doesn’t mean we know every other gay in the world.

5. ‘Do you have to be so in-your-face about it?’

Or, ‘I don’t mind gay people, but why do you have to parade about it and shove it down people’s throats?’

Being open and honest about who one loves or is attracted to does not equate to shoving it in people’s faces. As for Pride parades, demonstrating pride in one’s sexuality is important when large sections of society continue to tell you that your sexuality to be something shameful.

Reclaiming the streets – if only for one day – is empowering for anyone who feels threatened or unsafe on those streets at other times of the year.

6. How do you know if you have never been with someone of the opposite sex?’

Let’s turn that question around. How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never had sex with someone of your own sex?

How would you respond to that question? Feels a little ludicrous now, right?

7. ‘Am I cute? Would you date me if I was gay?’

For some reason, lots of straight people are really keen to be validated by people they have no sexual interest in.

8. ‘Have you heard of our Saviour? Jesus Christ?’

We know where this conversation is going, so let’s stop you right there…

See also

Read why this gay man froze and stared when he saw two men holding hands on the subway

Man meets girlfriend’s parents and realizes he’s had sex with her dad