We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it! Fortunately, most of the country has gotten used to it, as gay marriage is now legal nationwide. But there is still a lot of stigma, if not downright ignorance, for gay couples across the country. Here are the top questions that they’re sick and tired of getting asked.
“Yeah, but, who’s the boy?” or “Who’s the girl?”
This is probably the most common question gay couples get asked, and it speaks volumes about the person asking. It says that the individual posing the query cannot get past the patriarchal gender norms perpetuated by society. Why should one person conform to any one particular set of gender roles? It’s understandable why people would ask this question. What they might actually be asking is, “If this were my relationship, where would I fit in?” People want to be able to relate to other people. But that’s just it: Relationships are unique.
“Ok, but, you know—who gives and who receives?”
This is a more polite version of a question we don’t even want to repeat in mixed company, but what it comes down to is people are prying into the intimate lives of others. Again, it’s about wanting to be able to identify, but it’s profoundly invasive. What people do in the bedroom with other consenting adults is nobody else’s business. This counts for both gay and lesbian couples.
“Whose baby is it, really?”
The answer to this question for all same-sex couples is “Both of ours.” This question is really just asking who carried the baby in her uterus and gave birth to it, or who donated the sperm to the surrogate. And it’s just a way of asking a series of intensely personal questions that are totally inappropriate. It’s none of your business who donated sperm or who birthed the baby. What’s important is that the baby has two loving parents.
“How did you know you were gay?”
The same way everyone else discovered their sexuality. How did you know you were straight? Or bisexual? Or asexual? If you are close friends with someone, they may offer to discuss their coming out story, but it’s not something you should pry into, as it is obviously very personal. But the better you know someone, the more likely they are to trust you with such sensitive information.
“Will you take me shopping?”
Asking this of a gay man perpetuates a stereotype that gay men are vain, whimsical, and care about fashion. Or that they’re judgmental and catty and at all concerned about what you’re wearing at any given moment. This is akin to asking a lesbian if she’ll come over to help you put up some crown moulding in your apartment or take a look at your malfunctioning garbage disposal. Maybe some of them are handy around the house, but such skills have nothing to do with their sexuality. To suggest otherwise simply serves to preserve the heteronormative standards that repress us all.
“You’re not hitting on me, are you?”
If you are the same gender as the person in question, it’s asinine to think that they’ll hit on you just because they happen to be attracted to people of your gender. It’s insulting to suggest that a gay man is attracted to all men, or that a gay woman is attracted to all women. Are you attracted to everyone you’ve ever met of your preferenced gender? Probably not. And even if they are attracted to you, that doesn’t mean that they will ever act on it.
“Does it bother you that you can’t have kids?”
Aside from being patently untrue, this suggests that people who adopt children are somehow less of a family than those who have biological children. A gay couple can have children — through sperm donation, a surrogate, adoption — and that makes them just as much a family as anyone else.
Most of the ridiculous questions that gay couples get are rooted in heteronormative standards. But once we realize that love and family are the same regardless of the gender of the people involved, it’s easier to know what is and is not appropriate to ask.