I just got a call from a lady doing a survey about society, families etc. The focus of the survey seemed to be on the representation and perceptions of the LGBT+ community. She gave me different Statements and I had to tell her if I agree, mostly agree or disagree. I had the phone on loudspeaker as my mum was interested as well. At the end of the survey the lady asked me about my sexual orientation. I was astonished and wondered if she was even allowed to ask that question, so I didn’t answer right away. That’s when my mum jumped in and whispered: ” It’s hetero, honey”. I looked at her surprised.
After that phone call ended I was upset and I didn’t know why. Then it occurred to me. My mum automatically assumed I’m straight. I mean I talk to her about boys every now and then and I say things like “this actor is handsome”. But is this reason enough to aotometically assume I’m hetero ? I mean what if I wasn’t ? I never officially dated a boy but even if I had, I could still be bisexual or pansexual and haven’t told her.It just made me think that if I was queer, I’d have to tell her and it wouldn’t meet her expectation. And here we have the problem of a heteronormative society. If people didn’t automatically assume everyone is straight, queer people wouldn’t have to specifically tell us they’re not. By expecting everyone to be straight, society pushes people in a closet and forces them to come out, whereas if we just considered anyone could be LGBT+, telling others about it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
I’m not saying I’m better. How many times have I told my brother I’d make sure to be friends with his future wife one day, without considering he might marry a man ? How many times have I asked a girl I got friendly with if she has a boyfriend without thinking about how she might have a girlfriend ? Countless times. We’re so used to this heteronormativity, we have been raised to think like that. Or to not think at all. The lady asked me how often LGBT+ couples were featured in my schoolbooks. That’s when I realized there were none. Not a single one. It doesn’t look that much better in the media. While she was asking my opinion to different statements I started thinking about how even though I thought the LGBT+ community was treated rather well in our country, they’re still discriminated against by even the little things. From jokes about homosexuals, using gay as an insult to thinking children have disadvantages when they’re raised by same sex parents. Even though it seems society is getting more and more tolerant, it’s still a heteronormative one, that sees queer people as something strange. When I told a friend about the whole interview and my mum’s comment she was like : ” haha at least you’re mum still thinks you’re straight after getting so emotional about the topic” At least ? And if she thought I was lesbian ? Who cares ? Ifshe though I was lesbian or bi would that be a bad thing ? I would have to clarify that I don’t have the sexuality she just assigned me. Oh how terrible, telling someone you don’t have the sexuality they assume, we don’t want that, do we ? That’s exactly what we force queer people to do. She didn’t mean it that way, I know that, but still this comment had kind of a negative connotation. Same for when the lady asked me how I would feel if I had a child who had a lesbian or gay teacher. My answer: “Honestly ? I couldn’t care less.” To me it doesn’t make a difference, but to so many people in our society it apparently still does. I think if there was just an equal representation in schools and the media people wouldn’t be so scared of LGBT+ and see it as the normal thing it is. Until then lets just use words like partner instead of wife/husband or as “are you dating someone ?” Let’s not push people into closets anymore, Harry Potter proved it years ago : Nobody should live in a closet (That’s not my joke I read it somewhere)
Sorry just had to get that off my plate it really bothered me. If you want to share your opinion about it tweet us on @castaway_minds.
Have a great day