Photo: Dan Queiroz
1. Say “You don’t look like a lesbian.”
Really? I’m sorry, I totally forgot to pack my lumberjack boots and tool belt while backpacking Europe. Wait, what exactly does a lesbian look like? I’m feeling generous, so I’ll try to spin this extremely offensive comment into a teachable moment.
Lesbians, and all queer people, come from all walks of life. There is incredible diversity in our community and it’s something we pride ourselves in. Yes, we have butch and femme women, but we also have a whole host of identities in between those two, as well as a wide variety of personal styles and visual appearances.
2. Ask us to “prove it.”
This one usually comes from THAT guy. You know, the brah who’s slightly intoxicated and thinks his stunning wit will make your pants fall off. SPOILER: That never happens. When he’s posing this request he thinks he’s being cute or clever, but honestly we’ve heard this a million times and it’s getting tired and old.
What he’s really saying is that we can’t possibly be authentic in our identity, because the only way he can rationalize our deviant sexuality is if he can eroticize us and use us for his own pleasure. Newsflash, brah: We don’t exist for the pleasure of men.
3. Inform us that you “knew a lesbian once” and we should take her number.
Our community is small, but not that small…wait…is she cute?
4. Tell us how much more attractive we’d be if we’d just…
I get that you think you’re being helpful. While I appreciate that you’re concerned about me enough to want to “help” me, this kind of critique is just not needed. I am who I am and I don’t need you to “fix” me. I choose how I dress to reflect how I want to be seen, regardless of what label you affix to my appearance. It’s mine and not for you to comment on.
5. Claim you “don’t have gays here.”
I’m not even going to get into the statistical improbability of this statement. I think we should really be having a conversation about why some people don’t know any gay folks from their hometowns. What is it about your town (or you as a person) that makes the LGBT people in your community afraid to come out? What could you do to change this?
6. Assume we’re just here to party.
Sure, many LGBT people like to party, that’s no secret, but we also enjoy a whole host of other activities and interests because…ya know…we’re nuanced people and not some one-dimensional TV character that only gets air time during Pride Month.
7. Ask something completely ignorant, as if your only experience with the LGBT community comes from low budget porno or reruns of The L Word.
Example: “How exactly does scissoring work?”
8. Ask us, “Don’t you want to get married?”
Maybe…one day I might, but it’s probably not going to be what you’re picturing. I should also point out that being gay (or traveling) doesn’t limit me from forming relationships or even finding a committed partner. I’d also like to point out that not everyone wants to be in a long-term committed relationship. This is another example of someone pushing their heteronormative views on to me and my life.
9. Utter the phrase “what a waste.”
10. Sputter “But you’re so pretty…”
This one usually comes from Becky, the white sorority sister who can’t stop talking about how “epic” the Full Moon Party was in Koh Phangan. She’s dressed in a crop top and frayed jorts and she’s probably wearing a flower crown. She slurs, “Buuutttt you’re sooo pretty” in that mock surprised voice.
She’s suggesting that lesbians only exist because they’re not attractive enough to find a dude. Do I even have to refute this idea? Becky is usually the same girl who will then utter the words “I made out with a girl in college a couple times” before passing out into her bucket of Mai Thai. Pro Tip: Neither — Becky or the Mai Thai — is a good idea.