Imagine you’re a woman having a casual conversation with a male friend.
Out of nowhere, they lean into your ear and whisper ‘Your bum looks really good in those jeans.’
You’d probably assume those words come from a straight man.
But what if they came from a gay man?
Comments and, I use this word loosely, compliments are part of a friendship.
They’re evidence of how comfortable you are around each other. And it’s nice reminding your friends of how good they look!
But, when there’s no apparent reason or inside joke behind the comment though, they come across as creepy – not friendly.
This applies even more when the comment is coming from someone you don’t know that well.
Unfortunately, these men tend to think these comments are okay because they’re ‘not actually interested’ so aren’t ‘actually going to do anything.’
Regardless of the sexuality of the person saying the comments they can be still extremely unnerving and creepy for women.
I know this happens to other women, and I’ve experienced it myself.
If these creepy comments are okay because the gay man didn’t act on them, what does that imply?
That every inappropriate and unnerving comment from someone is fine, as long as they don’t physically attempt anything?
Sexual harassment is defined as the unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.
This includes sexual comments or jokes.
I physically do not understand why gay men think it is okay for them to go as far as grope a woman, just because they are gay.
They’ll say it was ‘just a friendly touch.’ They might even joke and call it a ‘friendly grope.’
There is no such thing as a friendly grope.
The Oxford Dictionary, here in the UK, defines a grope as a ‘fondle for sexual pleasure, roughly or clumsily, or without the person’s consent.’
The act does not change according to who is behind the problem. That’s not how this works.
Some might make the argument that these comments are okay and not actually sexual harassment.
But, again, what does that imply?
Is sexual assault okay between friends?
Consent and overstepping boundaries
So, all I ask is that you respect women and their bodies – Respect everyone and their bodies.
Your sexuality does not give you a get out of jail free card.
It goes without saying, consent is incredibly important.
Cruz Ramirez recently explained: ‘Men throw harassment at women they’re interested in on the streets, in the clubs, and online. Meanwhile gay women are afraid to say hello for fear of overstepping boundaries.
And sadly this marks the existence of a huge wound surrounding women and how they relate to sex and consent.’
Consent is so often ruined for women, unfortunately. It’s meaning is, all too often, warped because of previous bad experiences.
We seek comfort and refuge in our friendships. We’d rather not have to stress about an unwanted comment you made about our boobs.
Rather then grab your female friend’s boob in the club because you think it’s funny (Spoiler alert: It’s not), stand with her against the people who do.
Follow Charlie Mathers on Twitter.
Looking for support?
If you want more information about rape, sexual assault or any of the issues in this article you may want to try some of these organizations:
- Galop – LGBT anti-violence charity
- Survivors UK
- Survivors Manchester
- Antidote – LGBT health and wellbeing