So You’re Gay and Your Friends Are Straight, Now What?

Hola. A while back I wrote about being gay when all of your friends are straight and Laura has written in the past about how to confront various random acts of seemingly innocuous homophobia.

While my friends have been wonderfully accepting of the big picture (having sex with women), there’s been some disagreement over the details (‘realness’ of sex without a penis, homophobia, queer theory). Teaching bell hooks to drunk construction workers about would probably be met with less resistance. So I’d like to open up the conversation and ask what ya’ll think — how do we pick our battles?

Problem 1: They Don’t Want Our Sex

I know Autostraddle covered this in a nifty flowchart that I’m tempted to forward to everyone I know, but what happens if my friends remain unconvinced?

click to enlarge

I know Autostraddle covered this in a nifty flowchart that I’m tempted to forward to everyone I know, but what happens if my friends remain unconvinced? Recently I got into a heated argument with a close friend about ‘sex’ sex. I don’t know why everything I write is about sex. She defined sex as penetration- but only with a penis. In a vagina. This definition of sex is problematic because it shows a deeply ingrained belief that “real sex” is heterosexual sex. She responded “It’s just my definition of sex as it applies to me. It doesn’t have anything to do with you.”

I’m torn on this one. Half of me thinks “You do you I guess. Who am I to tell you what to think about sex? We all have the right to define things for ourselves.” The other half of me is pissed off. Even if “that’s just her definition”, her definition is clearly heterosexist and implies that she couldn’t ever have sex with a woman because women can’t have real sex with other women. Not applying a narrow-minded belief to me doesn’t excuse having a narrow-minded belief.

Does it?


Problem 2: “I’m on your side.”

I got into a heated debate with a friend over over-judicious application of “homophobia”. Apparently she overheard some people making fun of a guy wearing short shorts and called them assholes within earshot. She justified this not by reiterating that they were assholes (which they clearly were) but by calling them homophobes. When I pointed out they hadn’t actually said anything homophobic, she looked deep into my eyes and (in that voice one uses with teary eyed children) reminded me repeatedly that she was on my side.

What side is that?

The short-short lovers side?

The maybe gay men side?

The people who call anyone they don’t like bigoted side?

“I’m on your side” is a common refrain to my ears. Apparently being queer automatically makes me a victim who must be comforted and patronized, lest I faint in a fit of vapors. It no longer occurs to anyone that I might not be on their side, or that disagreement is caused not by over sensitivity but by a valid counterargument.

Is that oversensitive?


Problem 3: Queer

It’s queer. Just call me queer. Please call me queer. No one ever calls me queer, even the gender studies minor. God my friends do not want to use the word queer. Ever. Is it futile? Should I give up and accept queer will never be part of most people’s vocabulary?

Should I let the little things go, pick my battles, accept what I cannot change etc. Or should I speak up when someone I’m close to does or says something I find offensive or small-minded? And what happens if they won’t (or can’t) understand what I have to say?

Share your thoughts/advice/similar experiences!

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    • Nor I, but damned if I’m not working on it.

      We should seriously forward that flowchart to everyone we know, though. I mean, everyone should have [the opportunity to have] sex that isn’t goal: penis into orifice -> ejaculation.

    • My friends can’t seem to grasp the place between 50/50 bisexual and lesbian. Mostly they just call me a lesbian, but goddammit I’m not! Ugh. I just want to be called queer too. :\
      I have no solution besides griping “I’M NOT A LESBIAN” every time they say it, and constantly explaining how I am “mostly gay”.

      • Yes this! I don’t think we even have a word like “queer” in the French language so when people ask me “so what are you exactly!?” I don’t even know what to answer, it’s so frustrating. I could say queer but then they’d be like “quouire? what is THAT?”, and I won’t call myself pan because I’m not, so I just got used to be called a lesbian and go into long explanations and get wide-eyed looks everytime I mention my past or future hypothetic relationships with men.

        • Yeah, definitely a failing of French (and probably Spanish?). One time I had to explain Judith Butler and queer theory to a classroomful of French students, in French…it was kinda tough.

          • Yeah, a failing of Spanish too. We don’t have a word like “queer” either, and it would be very useful.

        • I use queer in French and then explain what it means to me.

          I’ve also heard that it was translated into trans-pédé-gouine in France which I found not cool at all.

          • The translation to Spanish is completely derogatory. Basically, it’s traslated as “fa***t”. The other translation would be “strange”, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

          • Actually if you look queer up in the English dictionary it is still defined as “strange” as well or even “mentally unbalanced and deranged”. Urban dictionary has this as a partial definition,

            “Queer can now be used to describe homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgendered people. In scholarly studies the word queer is also used to describe those who practice unconventional sex (e.g. bondage, etc.), therefore even heterosexuals can sometimes be defined as queer.”

        • This translation problem just came up at a conference talk I was at where the speaker, an Anglophone presenting in French, wanted to say that he was going to do a “queer-reading” of something and mischievously explained that the best translation he found was “lecture tordue,” which translated as “twisted reading.” Everyone laughed. Because it was well lol. So “tordu/e”? But no, nowhere near as queer, bless that little word’s heart.

  1. 1. the fact that being queer seems to mean i can’t talk about sex ever without making everyone — queer or straight or whatever — uncomfortable drives me NUTS. my straight friends squirm. my gay guy friends are uncomfortable, or too interested, and my gay lady friends just wish i’d stop talking about it because they know my girlfriend too and/or think it’s weird and/or have that weird dyke moratorium on talking about sex ever, or is this only my friends? WHY IS THIS WEIRD WHEN I SLEPT WITH BOYS WE TALKED ABOUT FUCKING CONSTANTLY I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW I GOT LAID. i don’t know how to win this battle. i think it just makes me more repressed about sex in public so therefore i end up having dirtier sex at home or something so i guess it isn’t THAT bad.

    3. this is a huge problem for me, apparently it is a really infinitely complicated concept to explain to anyone, ever, since it is like Not Specific Enough For People To Understand. I have tried to patiently explain but it’s so annoying… “wait, so that means you’re a lesbian? or does it mean your’e bisexual? OH MY GOD DON’T SAY THAT WORD ISN’T THAT A BAD WORD? so why won’t you identify as anything?” my girlfriend told one of our friends that she identified as “queer” and he was all like, “oh, you WOULD” as if it was this big weird political statement obnoxious thing too, and it’s just like NO I AM JUST TRYING TO BE HONEST IT JUST IS THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES SENSE *facepalm facepalm facepalm*

    • #1? Uh, yeah. What is that about anyway? Whenever I check out a girl (which is, admittedly, often), my friend always says: “Aw, you’re so cute. You’re like new and gay and stuff and everyone is hot.” Um. I’m not 12. Everyone is not hot. But if I want to check out someone, can’t you at least have some sort of comment that isn’t demeaning? Do people say “Oh, that’s so cute, you like a boy! If it has a penis, it’s attractive!”

      Give me a damn break.

  2. Ironically, a huge portion of the populace at my school LOVES the word queer/identifies that way. It’s getting them to call me a lesbian that seems to be the issue…

  3. Probably once a day, one of my friends uses gay as a slur or says fag, and I have to give them a disapproving look and say “hate speech”, and then they give me an annoyed look and come up with an alternate word to insult whatever they think is stupid/femmy/awful. Kind of like training a puppy or something, it’s all about consistency!

        • Yeah, because women are so inferior… And yet there’s more women in college than men, and more women graduate too. But whatever, right? It’s sooo funny to hear “you do ___ like a girl”

          • The correct response to “you ___ like a girl” is

            “Yeah, and I’ll kick your ass like a girl to”

          • I usually go “you ___ like a girl? good for you so-and-so! hopefully also you’ll have better grades just like girls and fast-track your career like girls and be a safer driver like girls too.”
            the neanderthals usually just roll their eyes at me

    • When I worked with tween boys, I used to get really obnoxious about it.

      “The chair is gay? Oh good, it can get married in Hawaii!”

      “My book is gay? I’m going to join PFLAG to show my support.”

      • Yeah, that’s how I do it too. “What’s inherently homosexual about foreign cars? Did I miss them at Pride or something?”

      • Haha I love this! “I’m going to join PFLAG to show my support.” Wonderful!

      • I usually get down on whichever student of mine says “Oh thats so gay.” I actually tear up. It’s probably not good. But I’m like “Hey. Dude. That’s not cool. How is the tee shirt gay? Does it like the other tee shirts? Jeezus.” Fuckwads.

        • Today it was the word retard. I’m usually smiley and bubbly, but I got all serious and told the girl that it was unacceptable to use that word in my class. I’m still waiting for the day when somebody throws a gay slur at me in school. I would probably cry and it wouldn’t be good.

      • “This test is going to be gay.”

        “No, if it were gay, I’d be looking forward to it much more. I don’t think the test is heterosexual, though, because it hasn’t really expressed much of an interest in anybody. Actually, I don’t think the test HAS a sexuality.”

        “Shut up, it’s just a word.”


        • My favorite exchange happened in the halls of my (Catholic) university (TW for sexual threat):

          “So I said ‘That’s so gay’ and a girl tells me ‘That’s offensive’ and I said ‘If I asked you to suck my dick, would that be offensive?'”

      • This is how I usually come at it too, “Really, I didn’t even know a bike could have a sexual preference, so how do you tell a gay one from a straight one?” I gets me a lot of eye rolls and the occasional person that actually doesn’t get my point and will actually say “No I mean gay like ya know, dumb”… But most people will get your point and if you do it enough I think eventually they will stop.. Or at least thats my hope!

      • I do this all the time. I like to use the word homosexual. That word makes some people really uncomfortable.

        “This book is so gay!”
        “I wasn’t aware that a book could be homosexual.”

        It’s a fun word to throw into conversation because it seems like everything is just casual and light and “lol totally” and “haha man ur so gay” and then it’s like “HOMOSEXUAL! WHAM!” and everyone’s all “woah dude I was just kidding, woah” and then everyone feels slightly awkward and you’re just sitting there all “that’s right bitches, bite me and my homosexual ass.”

      • I used to do this all the time on World of Warcraft trade chat. It mostly just confused people.

  4. I’ve been really lucky. All of my straight friends grew up in Ann Arbor, LA, San Diego or in an extremely liberal environment. At college, when I came out to my best friend she said “Okay, so would you like me to use ‘Queer’ or ‘Lesbian’ or a different word?” My baby dyke-ness didn’t even know there was a difference. (Thanks Queer Theory 1010!)

    Also, we just talk about just sex quite often. Gay, lesbian, queer, straight, whatever. This is usually done when we’re out to eat. I always wonder how our table neighbors feel about this. :D

    • @ Sex talk over dinner – yes. My aforementioned (or post-mentioned?) story about the argument over “real sex” happened adjacent to a table with 4 little old ladies. My friend gave me an uneasy look but I shrugged and smirked “They’ve been there, done that. No news to them.”

      • I was out to dinner when I had argument number one too! Except it was margarita night and we’d all had many margs and the argument finished with me standing up (we were sitting outside) and yelling “HOW DON’T YOU GET IT GO FUCK YOURSELF”. That was clearly not the right way to handle it.

        • I know!! How difficult is it to understand – “Okay, if it’s with a male, then you have a different ‘system’ of sex-tiers than with a female.” She also said that use a strap-on or a dildo did NOT count as penile penetration which pissed me off. I think in the end we decided to accept that you can only have sex if it can lead to pregnancy (sans contraception) which is stupid but I left it at that.

          • No no, it was more about “the way in which sex is performed”…which meant that anal sex is not real sex either. i.e. PIV is the only way in her definition.

          • I need an edit button: * if it’s with a female. Apparently gay guys can have because they have penises.

  5. That #3 picture made me LOL. Love it.

    I had #1 argument with my friend last week! Yay. She was telling me about how she cheated on her boyfriend yeeeeeears ago with a girl, and the only reason why he forgave her and got back together with her was because it was with a girl and not a guy and thus it was NOT REAL SEX. Then it turned into how lesbians can’t get HIV/AIDS as easily as gay guys and just what the fuck I love her but sometimes I wonder how much more of her vague homophobia I can put up with.

    I also realized a few days ago how out of touch I am with heteronormative pop culture. a) My friends think I’m making up the word ‘heteronormative’. b) Constant blank stares when I get into my feminist rants. c) My joke about unicorns reminded someone of that “Charlie” video on YouTube and NOT gay people which actually stunned me. Do people actually NOT equate unicorns with gaymos???

    • I have the unicorn problem ALL THE TIME. I occasionally use terms like “gay as a unicorn” and people look at me like I’m insane. Seriously, WHAT IS NOT GAY ABOUT UNICORNS. TELL ME ONE THING.

      • When I was a kid I had unicorn wallpaper & a unicorn light fixture in my room. #truestory #iwassogayomg

        • YUP– i had purple overalls with dolphins, yes PURPLE DOLPHINS and my room was rainbow dots, WHY DID NO ONE REALIZE haha #iwassogayomg

      • This happens to me, too. Also, rainbows. “Gay as a handbag full of rainbows”. “Gay as a unicorn prancing in a field of rainbows”. No dice, apparently. Surely I can’t be alone in this?

  6. I had friends who said they were proud of me when I started dating a girl…like that was me coming out as a lesbian. BUT I had dated girls before, I just didn’t know them yet, and I’m not a lesbian, it’s like they can’t be convinced that I wasn’t lying when I was dating boys and in their attempt to be supportive they’re refusing to acknowledge my actual sexuality and trying to fit me into this box that I just don’t fit into.

    Basically I need to date a boy soon so I can blow everyone’s mind.

    • this bothered me a lot too, when i got in my first serious relationship with a girl, and my friends were all like, WOAH!!!! i had gone to super gay college and i’d spent seriously like five years being like, no, really, guys, this is like a thing, like a real thing, i AM NOT STRAIGHT and yet somehow still when i was like ‘actually yeah pretty gay in a serious relash with a lady’ everyone was all alarmed, as if they’d just somehow not managed to notice when i started sleeping with girls when i was 19. and i guess i’d been quiet about it, but never lied — it’s like people just chose not to notice or figured i was just ‘fooling around in college’. i still feel like i need to prove to people that i’m not ‘faking it’ or ‘doing it for attention’ and i have been basically out as various incarnations of not-straight which granted, got gayer and gayer as time progressed, but really, it’s been SIX YEARS. it’s like the only thing people take as the “truth” about sexuality is whoever you are in a serious LTR with at the time, which is total crap.

      • “fooling around in college” = YES. i feel like i need to speed up the next few years and graduate just to prove to my friends that i’m not going to break up with my girlfriend and start sleeping with men the night after graduation

      • also i second everything else in that comment, i just got supes infuriated in my mind about the college thing and ranted out a reply before reading the rest

  7. My girlfriend and I decided that even though neither of us is really a lesbian, we are in a lesbian relationship so being “lesbians” is what we are.

    Also, I noticed hat my straight ally friends sign WAY more petitions, etc. than any of my queer friends do… Said my friend Sydney: “I support the shit out of you guys!!”

  8. About #1, I think that the “you do you” attitude is best, but only if it goes both ways. To me, doing some things with a guy didn’t feel like sex but doing them with a girl does. So I think it should be up to people to define for themselves what sex is, but only if they don’t define it for others, you know? So it should go both ways in that everyone respects everyone else’s definitions and the fact that they are real for the person, even if they don’t apply to you.

  9. Men were the primary historians of our civilizan. Men like putting their penises in things. So most people think ‘sex=penis in something’. I don’t mind talking about sex, but the closest lesbian I am friends with is my cousin, so… no.

    Also, I would like to thank this forum for introducing me to the real meaning for queer (as it is described in wikipedia). I thought it was just an alternate catch all term, I never heard anyone say, describe, or correct another term while calling themselves queer. As a gay man who doesn’t really fit into any of the heavily stereotyping scenes, I like it a lot better. And I kind of what that #3 picture on a t-shirt to wear while snowboarding.

  10. Have you guys been reading my LiveJournal or something? I just posted something about how I want to be referred to as queer! Spooooky.

  11. I think the reason straight people don’t like to use “queer” is because they still see it as a word that is used by homophobes to put down non-heterosexuals and, therefore, it isn’t really their word to reclaim. I just remember that before I came out, when I still identified as straight, I always felt really awkward using that word, even though I’d taken queer theory and really liked the idea of “queer” as a catch-all that is a lot less cumbersome than LGBT.

    And I know there are some queer people who have a problem with the word when used by straight people. For example, this: advises against straight people using it or any word that has had to be re-claimed.

  12. I have what I think is an adorable habit of assuming all girls are at least “bicurious” and my best friend of 13 years (who is straight and the loveliest, kindest girl on earth) thought it was weird. The other night, when we were out at a bar, she was like, “You can’t just assume everyone is bisexual, Sarah!”
    I think she was just trying to say it was sort of invasive to speculate on others’ sexuality, but I needed her to understand, so I replied, “Why not? It makes me happy! And it’s not an offensive assumption because there is NOTHING wrong with being bisexual!” To her credit, I think she got it. She’s a wonderful friend.
    But in the larger sense it still drives me crazy that straight people don’t realize when they are assuming everyone is straight until proven otherwise, but when we try to assume gayness it’s so OUT THERE and WHY WOULD YOU SPECULATE ON SOMETHING SO PRIVATE. As if assuming straightness is not the exact same sentiment.

    • This reminds me of an argument I got into with somebody about slash pairings in fanfiction of characters who are 100% straight in canon, how they didn’t understand how that was okay, but turning LGBT characters straight in fanfic is not. I think with that, the issue is that LGBT readers (or straight readers who like queer pairings, e.g. yaoi fangirls) have way less to choose from, and for years slash fanfics were the only way to get any same-sex action in our favorite series. Meanwhile, straight readers already have 99% of fictional characters ever, so it’s a little selfish for them to want to claim our characters, too.

      I don’t know if I feel the same about real people, and I say this as someone who likes to assume all straight people she knows have a bi side (mostly coming from my own journey to bisexuality – I was convinced I was 100% straight and came off to most people that way in high school, so I assume there’s hope in there for any straight person – not so much gay people, since I think most of them consider the “bi” possibility before coming out as gay). Whether Harry Potter is screwing Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Draco, Snape or all five in a given fanfic, it doesn’t hurt anyone because none of those people are real. But I don’t know if it’s fair to teach well-meaning real-life straight people a “lesson” about heteronormativity by assuming they are bi until they can furnish ample proof to the contrary. Personally, I have had it up to here with all the people in my life who think I’m “actually” straight or lesbian, and assuming they know my sexuality better than I do, and I don’t really want to wish that on anyone. That doesn’t mean I can’t break a bad habit.

      • And just to clarify – the “hope in there” thing was a joke, I don’t actually think bisexuals are superior to gay and straight people. I just wanted to make sure no one took that as a slur against Kinsey 6 gays and lesbians.

      • Thank you, I thought I was the only one bothered by the double-standard. It always makes me uncomfortable when I read stuff on lesbian websites about celebs who either don’t want to talk about their sexual life with the media (and who could blame them?) or say they are straight, and the article writers and commenters are all like “yeah right lol, who cares what she says or don’t says she’s totally gay!”

        If straight websites were doing the same thing about out gay/bi or “unknown orientation” famous people the gay community would go berserk, but yet doing it ourselves seems totally ok. I don’t get it.

        • Wwhat I mean is specifically when I view women I know in real life as potential dating partners, but my friend wonders how I can think such a woman would be bisexual. As in, she has seen them date men before so they are “straight.” I don’t make it a habit to protest with straight girls that they are actually lesbians. But I like to assume bisexuality until told or indicated otherwise by the person themselves.

          This drives me the craziest when I KNOW that these women are flirting with me, but even that gets ignored by said friends because they can’t fathom this girl they’ve put in the straight box might actually be outside the box. Or interested in boxes or box offices or the like ;)

          • FYI I easily pass as straight if I choose, so I am probably projecting my own discomfort with the fact that people so often assume this of me.

          • Yeah my answer was in regards to Erda’s comment, but I’m with you when it comes to dating though. I’m into femmes and trying to catch glimpses of gayness when they look typically “straight” is too much of a hassle, so I just do like straight guys and assume they might be interested too until I get (explicitly or not) rejected or told otherwise. I don’t really like making them uncomfortable if they’re straight, but hey it’s either that or staying single for life.

          • I am a femme and this is good! I want so much for a gay girl to ask me out, but I feel like they always talk to me like I am a straight person*, and after some previous negative experiences I have difficulty making the truth clear. Please assume potential homosexuality! Femmes like me will thank you.

            *Either that or I’m completely repulsive ;)

          • I’ve heard the way to do it is to wear some sort of LGBT pride indicator, like a rainbow bracelet or one of those shirts that says “I don’t even think straight.” What I do is I have a button on one of my jackets that says “Card-Carrying Bisexual.” (I’m something of a futch/low femme, so depending on what crowd I’m in I can be perceived either way – among the sort of super-girly preppy types who populate my school, I come off as rather tomboyish, though compared to most les/bi women I am probably more femme.)

          • Okay, I know what you mean, and I have the opposite problem – I’m also into femmes, and I feel like I may as well just assume they are straight unless I get some clear indication otherwise, since I’m kind of an awkward person and I don’t deal with rejection well. It sucks, but I’m trying to get better at it.

        • This this this this on tumblr all the time. Like, dudes, there are so many real queer/lesbian artists and actresses and musicians, perv on them!

    • Ooh, I have this habit too. My friends have stopped trying to point out that I “think everyone’s gay” and it’s stupid, but yeah, it’s just as stupid to assume everyone’s straight so let me have my fun.

      • Note that this is typically with celebrities or TV characters that I’m crushing on/obsessed with. I mean, is it so bad to hope that Lady A’s new love interest is another woman?

        • OH PLEASE OH PLEASE NICKI MINAJ *crosses fingers*

          *ahem* sorry, she is the lady of my fantasies. If she turns out to be bi then I can die happy.

  13. I don’t even get to the point of explaining ‘queer’ to them, because I would have to. or especially ‘boi’ or genderqueer. Some have gotten what I am automatically others are completely clueless and I just leave at ‘gay’ for em.
    and i’m talking about people in their late 20’s early 30’s
    -it ain’t easy out there folks

    • Yes, that makes sense. I tend to do that, too. Push the people who get it quickly, but then take what you can get from the rest….

  14. I hate the word “lesbian.” Mostly because it’s a noun, and not an adjective. You’re not lesbian, you’re *a* lesbian. Gay describes me, it doesn’t define me.

    I do, however, love some derivatives of the word “lesbian.” For example, I frequently describe myself as a lezbean, a lesbot, and a lesboninja.

    I have successfully gotten my friends to use the word gay instead of lesbian most of the time. I prefer queer, but no one will use it. I like “queer” because it leaves room for my sexuality to wiggle without having to apologize for it, and avoids labels that reinforce gender binarism. My friends seem to dislike the word “queer” because it’s not *specific* enough, and avoids labels that reinforce gender binarism. I tell someone I’m queer, and they inevitably ask me, “so, are you gay or bi?”

    • I prefer gay as well, to lesbian that is. It’s like you said. Gay is a descriptive word. Lesbian is a noun. And why is that exactly? Why are women defined by their orientation when men aren’t? Grr. No one says “Oh honey, those are gays over there. Look!”


      • I think it’s just etymology. Gay men have been saddled with antigay noun-slurs before (about ten spring immediately to mind), which always seem more insulting to me (as opposed to adjective-slurs) because they thingify you.

        Lesbian is technically an adjective, as in “from or of the island of Lesbos,” but since it already means a person, that part is implicit. Which makes it a noun. (?)
        Grammar is confusing.

        Whereas “gay” always described a state a person could be in, not a kind of person.

  15. My biggest problem around a lot of my straight friends is me. I’m out to everyone, but as having a girlfriend, not as being gay/queer/bi (if that makes sense). I tend to overcompensate by talking about that really hot boy on the screen instead of his really hot girlfriend. I think that in my quest to show them that I’m who I always was, that I’m just like them, I sometimes treat ‘normal’ as ‘straight’. I sacrifice parts of my personality, and not because they don’t accept me, but because I’m afraid of being too different.

    My closest friends are all gay and our whole group of friends are queer as fuck, but there will always be those people that I want to fit in with, and I have to be able to find a way to be me and just take the battles that may come.

    • As a bisexual, I’ve noticed that I always feel like I have to give people evidence that I am interested in both sexes. If I show interest in a woman, I feel like I have to compensate by showing interest in a man as well, and vice versa.

      This is mainly just because I know a lot of people who think they know my sexuality better than I do for some reason, and that I am actually either straight or gay and not bi as I say. For example, my mom thinks I am “straight but going through a bicurious phase,” and she tends to treat me like I’m straight if I don’t rub my attraction to women in her face. (My mom is not a homophobe or biphobe, just someone who won’t accept that she might not know me as well as I know myself.)

      • “I know a lot of people who think they know my sexuality better than I do for some reason, and that I am actually either straight or gay and not bi as I say.”

        UGH. I hate this. Some straight people seem to think that there are ‘straight’ people and there are these inherently different ‘gay’ people that are like another species/gender or something and that if you aren’t ‘straight’ then you must be ‘gay’ or vice versa. I know I get raised eyebrows and requests to stop the conversation and explain if I so much as refer to a guy as ‘cute’.

        • The hardest part for me isn’t getting people to call me queer, or other similar acceptable words, rather having to defend my girlfriend’s straightness. She’s not gay… we’re just really good together. There’s nothing that annoys me more than “but she’s with you…” well, yeah, she’s with me, but she can still identify as whatever she wants, and that’s just fine with me.

          • As a straight girl dating a lady, much respect. Luckily, my girlfriend’s friends have really rolled with it and respected that I still identify as straight, whereas the people in my life have mostly said “Well, what’s wrong with being bisexual?”

            Nothing, I just don’t identify as a bisexual. It’s been kind of trippy because most people in my life try to box me in as “bicurious” or “questioning.” I don’t feel like I’m questioning! I’m attracted to men 98% of the time, and I found a girl that I work well with. All the questions about whether I’m questioning, though, have led me to reconsider about whether I’m questioning, and then the whole thing is just a mindfuck.

      • Yes, I think that’s a big part of it.
        Strangely enough, most of my gay friends think I’ll end up with a man while my straight friends thinks it’ll be a woman. As if that in any way is a measure of my sexuality.

        Although we don’t have to word queer in Norwegian, we do have the word “skeiv,” which literally means “not straight”, but it’s mostly used in LGBTQ organizations. The pressure to label yourself as something adds the pressure of being that something, and it doesn’t always quite match up. The labels have too many criteria already attached to them.

      • I consider myself queer and into all genders. My close friends, however, or semi close friends, all refer to me as a lesbian because I’m currently not interested in dating men (I have a bunch of experience with men, sexually and dating-wise, but very little with women).

        It gets really annoying because I’m not gay, not straight, I’m queer, and very few people seem to understand that. Even worse, if I explain I’m into all genders but specifically interested in women and not in men, guys take that opportunity to start hitting on me or wondering about threesomes.

        Apparently it is impossible to be queer with a preference for one gender.

    • dude dude. Me too. I totally do NOT feel comfortable saying “oh that girl is really cute over there” because my friends will just giggle, like “Oh Krissy, that’s so quaint and silly that you are attracted to that thing with boobs over there! Now stop talking about it because we have nothing to say to you.” So instead I’ll just talk about wanting a “boyfriend” when I’m primarily interested in girls right now, and I’ll always point out cute guys.

      WHY IS THIS FAIR? Why should there be such awkwardness when I express interest in a cute girl in the dining hall? Ugh.

      OH and I HATE the threesome thing. I have no desire for a threesome right now, and my bisexuality does not exist to fulfill male fantasies.

      • I totally understand this. My friend and I were talking about her attraction to women and I would like to be more open about my preferences but I don’t want to make others uncomfortable AND I don’t want all these creepy misogynists to start suggesting I get involved with their girlfriends. A friend of mine had a bi girlfriend and he seemed to hint at a three way but I pretended I had no idea where he was going with it. It feels like more trouble than its worth sometimes.

  16. the best straight allies I have are those who don’t make a big deal about it. like the people who I went to school with and who sort of grew up with me liking women the same way they like men. those are the friends who were there when I had a boyfriend I lived with and still don’t even feel the need to discuss that I now, again, identify as a lesbian.

    once my roommate, who I have been friends with for 10+ years, was asked by a male friend what it’s like living with a lesbian. she asked him how his female roommate felt about living with a straight guy and was still laughing when she came home and told me the story.

    although most of my friends are super adorable and great (and go on pride parades and get photographed with “queer” stickers on their pants), there have been some discussions around the whole sex topic. I was once told that if lesbians have sex using double dildos/ strap-ons it meant that they would really want a penis. yeah, I didn’t even discuss this one.

  17. I can’t get anyone to call me either queer, which is what I ~colloquially~ like to be known as, or pansexual. And if I do get someone to call me either of them, they generally expect a long, drawn-out explanation, after which they will usually say “so you’re bisexual, then?”

    And I get a lot of people using gay as an insult, on account of being at a stupid high school full of stupid stupid people. Whenever I try to say anything, I get told to stop being so “up [my]self”, which is also what I get told whenever I try to stop people from making sexist jokes, which happens at least twice a week.

    Le sigh.

  18. I got so frustrated re: this topic that I wrote a blog post debunking myths about lesbian sex on a straight girl’s blog. actually a lot of decent feedback, straight ppl thanking me for clearing it up, other lesbians thanking me for just writing it, period. but that’s like throwing a pebble into the ocean. sigh

  19. Does anyone have the problem that they have a hard time relating to their straight friends’ guy problems? Like, my friend was complaining about how there weren’t any decent men she could date and looked at me like I should say something, but I’ve already made the “ladies are better” joke. And it’s not that I can’t do relationship advice, I’m great at that, I just cannot participate in the complaining about guys which seems like a regular part of straight girl bonding.

    • Well not to mention that straight girls have about 800% more potential partners to choose from than we do…

    • I know exactly what you mean! There are only so many jokes you can make and only so much complaining you can hear before you want to stab yourself in the eyeballs.

    • I tune out those conversations. It’s not because I’m gay, but because I honestly have nothing to say. I’ve been in one ltr and that was it. And it didn’t end well. I mean, what, cuz I’m a chick that means you can talk my ear off about your man issues? Ugh.

    • Complaining-about-guys-straight-girl-bonding = kill me now. It’s like a horrific mani-pedi party in generalization town specifically designed to make me want to kill myself.

      • Bridal showers are THE WORST THINGS EVER. It is literally a 3 hour non-stop guy complaining marathon because all the girls there who are NOT the bride-to-be are tripping out because they’re not married. and don’t even get me started on those antiquated, ritualized games that they make you play. they might as well be standing at the microphone telling the entire room of women “you are inferior, your whole life should revolve around men.” ugh!

  20. Also: one time a straight boy asked me if two girls have sex with a dildo or strap-on, why not just have sex with a man. Like, what is the actual difference.

    I was relaxed, (read: high) so I just explained it to him. Usually I would have gotten all ranty. And he got it, and it was cool.

    In fairness to him, he was extreeeemely drunk at the time. But it kinds boggles my mind to think that that concept could confuse even the drunkest of people.

    • haha i had to make an entire documentary to debunk THAT stupid myth. unfortunately i can’t put it on the interwebs because i made it for a class and didn’t get anyone to sign actor release forms, but the interviews i got were fucking awesome!

    • This has always been so obvious for me, I do not understand why straight people cannot understand the strap-on thing. Because you can like the feeling of a dick-shaped apparatus within you without wanting the man body that comes with it, since (most) men are more than their dicks? I mean, DUH?

    • A friend asked me once, if I wanted to have a baby with someone I knew, why couldn’t I just go have sex with him a few times until I got knocked up?

      And she was SERIOUS. And SOBER.


      • In New South Wales, you can put both female partners on a birth certificate even if you use a known donor’s sperm for artificial insemination. But if he sticks his penis into your vagina instead, you have to put the donor’s name on the birth certificate.

        I found that interesting. (Also hard to prove what with the DIY possibilities.)

  21. I don’t think the problem is that your straight friends are clueless or insensitive because they are straight. They are just clueless and insensitive. Get better friends. They’re out there.

  22. I hate hate hate the entire concept of allies and I also hate that they’re in the acronym now. You’re not in the community, you might be mildly related to it but you have no idea what its like to be gay.

    The part where this comes into play in my life is straight people (and to some extent bisexuals who err on the straight side of things) gossiping about me (I’m not exactly out) and then being all like ‘its not an insult to call someone a lesbian’. I’ll decide when I’m ready to be out, I don’t care how understanding and liberal you are, the fact that you think its ok to do these things and talk about me behind my back proves to me you will never, ever understand what its like to be gay. Your status as an ally is just self indulgence

    • I never thought allies were in the acronym at all. By acronym I assume you meant LGBT or its variants. When I see an A included I assume it means asexual.

        • I’ve heard the A used to mean both asexual and ally. When I first found out the latter, I had the same reaction you had; counting “allies” in the community shows a pretty big ignorance of the way privilege works, I think. They still get certain benefits from a homophobic society, whether they want them or not, that they wouldn’t get if they were not straight.

          • Tangent, but I have seen LGBTTIQQAA2S. Srsly, I think we need to set a limit to how many characters we have in our alphabet soup.

            I <3 allies, the genuine ones anyway, but I do not think they should be included in the acronym. That is like saying my Italian-Australian self should be considered Aboriginal because I support Indigenous rights in Australia, i.e. it is ridiculous.

          • What is the 2 and the S at the end? The rest of them I’ve seen before but those two are new and baffling.

    • I used to feel the way you did and I hope one day you do have friends who do not gossip behind your -gay or straight.

      But I have to say that sure some “allies” are in it for the social justice cookies in a “I’M SUCH A S GOOD PERSON!” way when it’s lip-service and “a thing to do until there is a trendier cause.” Trust me I met some really self indulgent “allies” into all kinds of things that left me nauseated and annoyed with the liberal/white patronizing b.s.

      ANYWAY…Allies are really important because straight people who hear me talk about LBGTIA rights tend to think I have this “gay bias” *rolls eyes* but when my very straight sister cusses them out, it’s pretty epic and they take her word over mine (sadly).

      Allies are straight translators when they don’t hear us fellow queers. It’s a weird phenom that I see happen all the time! Examples:

      -A lady says something no one “hears” it but a guy says it “OMG WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!” The lady is like, “WTF? I said the same..ugh!”

      -A LBGTIA makes a good point on something relating to LBGTIA issues but a straight person says the same thing and it ALL MAKES SENSE TO THE OTHER STRAIGHT PEOPLE!

      -A POC (Person of Color) talks about racism/discrimination and but it only “taken seriously” when white person tells other white people “no seriously, this is racism/discrimination and it is fucked up.”

      It all comes down to the “minority bias” that majority thinks influences a very valid fact and opinion, where in the end of the discussion not take seriously or consider the (minority) view point. We need allies to (sadly?) say, “Seriously homophobia/racism/sexism/etc. ARE NOT RIGHT SO LET’S HELP THEM BECAUSE WE WILL BE BETTER PEOPLE!”

      Love allies well the real allies. :D

      • Coming out as bisexual after years of identifying as straight was a really sudden education for me in the way privilege works. I never realized how much my voice on LGBT issues was dependent upon the fact that I wasn’t considered a part of the LGBT community. When I was seen as straight, I was doing it out of the goodness of my own heart. Now that I’m out as bi, I’m “personally invested” in it and some straight people I know take me less seriously.

        The worst was when some woman was dissing my involvement in gay rights, saying it “wasn’t as important” as other causes I supported like pro-choice stuff and I should focus more on those, and when I disagreed she point-blank asked “Are you gay?” Like “That’s obviously the reason that you care so much.”

        So, allies are very important. What I just disagree with is the inclusion of them in LGBTQIA, because I feel like as much as they may sympathize with our plight, they still benefit (even if unwillingly) from heterosexism and therefore are not truly a “part” of the community. Isn’t the whole term “ally” supposed to signify that they are aligned with us but not a part of us?

        • “. . . she point-blank asked ‘Are you gay?’ Like ‘That’s obviously the reason that you care so much.'”

          That woman was right! 95% of the straight world does not give a rats ass. :D

        • I also do not include them in the LGBTIA community soup but they can certainly come to the pot-luck making sure they bring some friends. *bad analogy/joke*

      • “But I have to say that sure some ‘allies’ are in it for the social justice cookies in a ‘I’M SUCH A S GOOD PERSON!’ way when it’s lip-service and ‘a thing to do until there is a trendier cause.'”

        Ain’t that the fuckin truth :D. Some of these people are absolute staunch racists. Though I have the great fortune of being a masculine woman, and usually their verneer support of gays shrivels as soon as they get a look at me. Thumbs up!

      • Is it just me or is this acronym getting wayyyyy too long?? I feel like it should either be changed to EBH (Everything But Hetero) or just Queer. the end.

      • I don’t think of myself as an “ally”. I have friends… lots of different kinds. Some are from minority religions. Some of them are gay. One’s in a wheelchair. Some were born in other countries and speak with an accent. A couple of them have had to deal with some daunting mental and developmental challenges.

        I have friends. And I don’t like people treating my friends poorly. Period.

        And when I encounter some new sociological division that I hadn’t heard of before, and thus have no friends in yet? Well, I have this thing called empathy… I know that they’re somebody’s friend. They’re human, and thus deserve a measure of respect.

        I’m also a loud-mouth, so I make my displeasure at douchebaggery known. In fact, one bloke recently pointed out just how many “causes” (bloody hell I hate that term) I have, and asked me why. I looked at him and said “Because stupidity gives me hives!” and walked away.

        I hate the term “ally”. I don’t mind it when one of my LGBTQP (let’s not forget the Pansexuals) friends uses it, but when a straight person does? Ugh… it strikes me a little too much of limousine liberalism, of the privileged adopting some minority of the month. I don’t call myself an “ally”, I call myself a friend, and I have my friends’ backs.

      • This is the kind of ally my mom is. She helped found the LGBT affinity group at her previous workplace (a very large non-profit organization) and worked tirelessly to help make her organization more open and inclusive. Most of her colleagues thought she was doing it because of me. But her boss actually came up to her a few months later and said, “You know, I’ve realized you’re not doing this because you have a horse in the race, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

        <3 my momma :D

    • If people are outing you without your permission they’re just horrible, horrible friends and are certainly only pretending to be ‘allies’. Liberal they may be, but understanding? Pshaw.

      I don’t know if I like the term–there’s something a bit on the obnoxiously coy side to it, I think–but I’m pretty sure it’s possible to be straight and work for an end to heterosexism and so on. My GSA in high school was run by this straight Christian couple in 12th grade who were badass and brought it back from the dead. Also, I have a friend who IDs as straight and she ‘gets’ it, I think. Mainly because her sexuality though oriented towards men is weird and she’s a feminist and shit.

      I still don’t think it really belongs in “the acronym,” though I have feelings about being part of a giant acronym label anyway.

      • Yeah, I have trouble with her blaming the friends for being straight for their outing. I mean, yes, straight people do not have that experience themselves and therefore may not realize how traumatic it is, but there are a lot of gay and bi people who are clueless about this stuff – who assume that because THEY could come out in a particular environment, everyone should be able to do the same. See, for example, Perez Hilton before the rest of the queer community started pressuring him about it.

        We can have a little bit of that myopia, too, if we’re under certain circumstances. As I’m lucky enough to go to a school that is very pro-gay and accepting, I sometimes wonder why certain other people at my high school who everyone knows are gay/bi are not out. I have to remind myself that I’m lucky enough to have a supportive home environment and not everyone has that. There are a lot of people going to college in liberal blue states who did not start out in liberal blue states, and have to go home to the discrimination they faced before whenever we’re on break.

    • That’s not an ally thing. I’ve met a lot of LGBT people that think that, because they’re out and being out is a good thing, everyone should be out too.

      I know there are people out there who define themselves as “allies” because it’s trendy nowadays. But there are straight people that genuinely care about the community, that want to help the community as liassons between them and the straight world just because they get upset with homophobia and bigotry towards queers.

      Although I’m definitely bi-curious and I’ve even experimented a little with girls, I don’t consider myself part of the LGBT community. But I’m most definitely an ally, and, though I understand your point of view, I feel a little hurt that you would make generalizations like that.

      Yeah, we’re not really part of the community. Yeah, maybe we can’t really understand the meaning of being queer because we’ve never had to come out, or because we’ve never had to deal with homophobia directed at us. And yeah, we will probably make seemingly insensitive mistakes because of that lack of knowledge. But we want to learn. We want to help. Is that such a bad thing? We’re trying to fight the same enemies. I don’t like that I have more rights than other people just because I’m in a relationship with a man. And I will fight for those rights to be universal, even if there’s nothing in that fight that could increase my own privileges.

      There’s a lot of cancer patients who say: “You can’t understand what having cancer means, so I don’t want to hear how sorry you are about people getting the disease.” I say: “Bullshit.” If I can’t empathize with sick people I will make a really bad doctor. Maybe it’s a really bad comparison, but I feel the same way over this subject.

      Allow us to learn. Allow us to try to understand. Allow us to try to help in any way we can. Please. We really want to.

      • We do allow you to learn. We have to. What would the life of a staunchly anti-straight gay person look like? It would be a joke. There is no part of the world where that point of view is dominant or anything close to. It’s your way or the highway everywhere, and we have to learn how to function under those conditions.

        If a person gets burned 92,873 times, and you’re wondering why they don’t roll out the welcome mat on time #92,874 well…
        But we do roll out the welcome mat all the time, even when there’s no reason to believe anything good will come of it. See the 1st paragraph^.

        A lot of this is just people coming home from work and venting on an internet site about… the usual. Surprise, we feel hostility towards straights at times! At least I do. I’d have to be insane not to (though too much hostility would lead to insanity, too).

        Anyway, deeds, not words. I know exactly which straight people in my life would be down for defending me if push came to shove, and exactly who wouldn’t. And the homos that know you know the same.

        Basically, let pissed off gays be pissed off gays, and don’t take it personally :D.

        • THIS!

          Like when I rant to my straight sister about homophobia sometimes she does not get it. Of course I don’t bite her head off for not understanding but the fact she is there to listen helps me a lot.

        • I know, I know, that’s why I said that I understood her point of view.
          And it’s not that I’m taking it personally… I think I’m just venting too. lol

          You know, it’s not the first time that I’ve encountered these kind of opinions. Whenever I go to an LGBTQ event just to lend my support to my queer friends there’s always someone who looks at me with hostility and asks: “And what are you doing here? You’re not queer. Get out.” For me, it’s infuriating, frustrating… and yes, a little bit painful. I’m not there because I’m curious. I’m not there because it’s “cool”. I’m there just because I want to lend my support!

          See? I’m venting again. lol

          About my name, I think the latin form (albus) means white, but in the sense of purity. And the dawn is a pure thing. I guess the evolution of the name comes from that notion. ;-)

          By the way, I know this is random, but I love my name. lol

          • Hm, I heard alba used to mean the color white. The sentence was “Creta est alba” (Chalk is white). Anyway, I just looked it up and found out it can also mean “bright” or “clear.” So that answers that. I like your name too.

            As for people giving you grief when you go to gay events, of course it is not right if people are rude to you. But I suggest you look at it from the gay person’s point of view. Straight people often show up at gay events/bars to look at us like we’re on display at a zoo, or to get a taste of the exotic, like a rich tourist in a poor country.

            A few miles from where I live, a straight guy showed up in a local gay bar, this was in ’06. People were sizing him up and trying to figure out why he was there. Then the guy took out a hatchet and hacked somebody in the face with it, and after that he pulled a gun and shot two people. About 2 months ago I was at a local gay bar, and suddenly literally 25 or 30 straight people showed up, took up the whole bar, and just generally tried to take the place over. Just basically throwing their weight around to show us who’s boss, etc. We have this one tiny little postage-stamp-sized place in the entire area that is ours, and straight people feel so threatened by that that they have to try to take over.

            Also, you could learn from what you describe as the painful, infuriating, and frustrating experience of being looked at with hostility. I am glad you felt that way, and I hope you remember it – not because I want you to feel bad, but because that is how many LGBT people are made to feel *all the time.*

          • I assure you I do look at it from their point of view. That’s why I never react badly when they say those things to me, it’s usually my gay friends who do. lol

            I know there are straight people who go to LGBTQ events as if they were about to watch animals at the zoo, or something like that. But I also think that heterophobia is as bad as homophobia, and it must be evaded. I realize it’s difficult for some LGBTQ people because they’ve been suffering for years because of homophobia, and it’s natural to generalize and be suspicious of the entire population of straight people. Historically, we’ve been the ones that have hurt you guys. I get that. I get that you have the right to be suspicious, and the two events you mentioned in your comment prove exactly that.

            But the real fight must be directed at those who express hatred of whatever kind, and not all straights are homophobes.

            And hey, maybe those who think they are going to the zoo will eventually learn something and change their minds. Curiosity can be a good thing too. ;-) People fear what they don’t understand. And curiosity usually leads to understanding.

            I don’t know if I’m explaining myself properly. Since English isn’t my first language, for me it’s difficult to express what I really want to say. :-S

            About your last paragraph, I once read an article that was written by an ally about his experience marching in the Pride parade. He described that everyone outside the parade thought he was gay, so he got to experience homophobia in a really different way. It was a good article. I think I can find it… Yes, here it is:


            That’s the way the bonds with the LGBT community must be formed. That’s the deep understanding we should seek. We must feel homophobia, not heterophobia, because homophobia is the real problem. That’s what I think. ;-)

          • I think there are certain LGBTQBBQ events that are more ally-appropriate than others. For example, a marriage rights rally or pride parade is a perfect place for an ally. A gay bar? That’s a little less acceptable, although I’d understand if you were coming for a (queer) friend’s birthday or something. And I think that it’s perfectly acceptable for there to be LGBTQ-only spaces, as there are just some times when you need that.

          • LGBTQBBQ… now that I can get behind!

            if the identity police complain, we can just tell them that BBQ = big beautiful queer ;)

          • Where I live, Dublin, Ireland, there’s actually nowhere to go for lesbians because the only night we had just ended and the rest of the clubs are overrun with straight girls with their GBFs who then get pissed when lesbians hit on them. I don’t really see a place for straight people in gay bars, events like pride then maybe, but although I don’t want to come off like the most heterophobic person on earth, sometimes it would be nice to have a postage stamp of earth where everyone was gay.

            I recognize that there are people like Alba who really make an effort to do their best, just my overwhelming experience with straight people who claim to be very LGBT friendly has been negative, and now I’m highly suspicious of anyone who tries to tell me they’re an ally.

        • I think it’s the capacity to teach and learn/understand…

          The teacher (LGBTQ identified person) has to have patience towards the student (the ignorant, naive, unknowing person) on the subject. The teacher knows the subject in depth, while the student knows little or nothing at all. This is where the capacity to teach with patience towards the student who also must have a certain level of capacity to learn and have patience on said topic. In simpler terms it’s a little give and take.

          When you have a teacher who uses terms that a student can’t understand because the vocabulary does not fit with the student’s intelligence level, the student will be stubborn to learn, and won’t try to understand the subject, while the teacher will also get aggravated, and give up on the student who could have potential in learning/understanding.

          Teachers have the grueling task to repeat their lessons over and over, while students ask the same questions, and this is potentially why teachers can get easily annoyed. This is also why I’m using this analogy.

          Then you have a student, who already knows the subject, and surpasses the others in the class (I’m referring to @Alba, in this case. You’d be the “TA.”) The teacher then has to remind ze self that this person is at a point where ze can teach as well, and not to demean ze’s sense of intelligence on the subject just because ze is not as “experienced.”

          However, when a student has absolutely little to no capacity to learn (these students would be your mentally inept group). Some are to the point where they cannot function, and some have the ability to learn, but at a much slower pace than the rest of the class. This is why the teacher has to have an extraordinary amount of patience, and understanding at the student’s learning pace.

          I realize that I typed a ton, and I apologize as well as, thank you for reading all the way down here. I hope this makes sense to you as much as it makes sense to me.

          • “Then you have a student, who already knows the subject, and surpasses the others in the class (I’m referring to @Alba, in this case. You’d be the “TA.”) The teacher then has to remind ze self that this person is at a point where ze can teach as well, and not to demean ze’s sense of intelligence on the subject just because ze is not as “experienced.””

            Whoa, thank you! :-D

            But I don’t think I know the subject that well… not yet. I’m still learning. I don’t think I will ever stop learning. And that’s the way it should be. ;-)
            I do think I can help teach those of the inept group, because maybe they will understand it better from someone who’s also a student. ;-)

          • this is smart. we have valid reason as LGBT folk to be mad, but I still think it isn’t the way to get change to happen. And I say after being burned a lot, sometimes BY the community itself, and dealing with a lot of anger. I want change more than whatever I might get in the moment by screaming. (for the most part, anyway. some people are just trying to hurt you and they deserve nothing but scorn, but that isn’t the same as honest ignorance)

      • Oh, and I just learned that your name means “dawn” in Spanish. I wonder how it went from “white” (Latin) to “dawn.”

  23. TBH, my biggest problem with my straighties is that they’ll be hating on random person X and let slip, “yeah, she’s such a slut!”.

    And then, in the interest of sex-positivity, I raise my hand and add, “um, I’m a slut.” Cause I’m comfortable identifying that way.

    And then the commenter responds with, “Yeah, but you’re gay, it’s different.”


    • Every time I hear the world slut I think of the one and only sex positive Golden Girl character Blanche Devereaux, which makes me say “Get it, Blanche!”

    • ARGH that is so frustrating! I get that too, except I’m “bisexual” so I’m obviously even more of a slut and just doing it for attention. “Bisexual” because they like labels and I’m not overly fond of them.

      • I suppose this goes back to #1, lesbosex is not “real for truesex” and so doesn’t count in the same way as hetrosex. Bah.

        Go sluts!


    mostly you just need to get rid of that one who said sex is only penis in vagina.

    you should challenge her assumptions by asking her, hey what if the guy is like the protagonist in “the sun also rises”, and he lost his penis in the war and he uses a strap on with his girlfriend. is that “real sex”? i’m trying to figure out if this awful person only thinks it is sex when it is a man and a woman, or if they only think it is sex when it is a penis and a vagina. so a pre-op trans woman uses her penis to have penetrative sex with a cis woman; this is lesbian sex; is it therefore “real” to your friend? you should mess with her small mind

  25. For straights, sex is all about the peen. My general feeling towards this is:
    1. Glad I’m not a hetero female.
    2. Think of these people as being hopeless. If they come around, great, you’re all ears. If not, no skin off my ass, I do not have to fuck them.

    You can’t get everything you need in life from one person. One of my best friends is a straight male who is ignorant of some gender or sexuality concepts. If you’ve been around me for 14 years and you still haven’t learned, you never will. So I don’t go to him with those things. There are some things where, if he came to me with them… good fucking luck. But we are both really interested in art, certain social concepts, history, etc. One of my other best friends is a gay male, but he has only read one book ever in his life. So I can’t sit and talk about art history with him. He had a horrible experience at school, and has had an irrational bias against any kind of book learning ever since. Another close friend of 14 years is a straight female who is fucking awesome, but she hates guns, the outdoors, or any non-dainty/urban thing.

    Have you ever noticed that being friends with someone for any significant length of time is mainly about putting up with their bullshit? Hehe.. just kidding, I’m not that much of a jaded ass. It seems who people are is beyond these “things” (interests, etc).

  26. Lesbian sex IS real sex, obviously. People who say otherwise are most likely just jealous that we can’t accidentally get pregnant, and also that we can keep going for hours whereas their sexual encounters last an average of 5 to 10 minutes.

  27. Well, it’s not happening to me, but several friends in the last year or so have come out as trans, and naturally this provoked a bit of discussion in our friend circle. It’s generally respectful and polite dialogue, but unfortunately some mutual friends decided that they object to the word “cis” on the grounds that it’s labelling them without consent (which is just fucking stupid)

    Then it came out that these same people don’t believe in privilege. AT ALL. Except for the one guy who thinks that men are opressed by vicious feminists, who have “female privilege” but he’s kind of weird and is sort of a friend of a friend anyway.


    • “…but unfortunately some mutual friends decided that they object to the word “cis” on the grounds that it’s labelling them without consent (which is just fucking stupid)”

      ^I can’t even…really?

  28. Chloe, straight people are not going to use the word queer.

    I’ve had straight friends say that calling stuff gay isn’t offensive or shouldn’t be, because they don’t actually mean it’s homosexual. It was a legit tense convo. They’ve stopped.

    • I feel like that sounded condescending… I just mean that, well, straight people just won’t. They think it’s an insult or a weird word to use. I’ve overheard my straight friends and co-workers talking about it, a gay group said they liked being called queer and everyone was like “um, yeah, no, we’re not calling the, that.” My general sense is straight people don’t like saying it. Hell, I’m a lesbian and I can’t stand it.

      • My college’s gay-people group is now called the Queer Students Association. Maybe this will get straight people to use it? IDK.

        What bothers you about “queer”? (If you don’t mind my asking.)

        • I didn’t see this reply. Queer just doesn’t mean anything to me. Personally, I am a lesbian, gay… not queer. Queer to me sounds like it’s something so unusual and so hard to define that there isn’t even a clear word for it; it requires a broad umbrella term that includes transgender, pansexual, etc. etc. — things I am most definitely not and don’t feel any connection to or understanding of. It has a connection of “everything that is weird.” I don’t think being gay is weird. And yes, I fully realize I am offending a lot of people right now for whatever reasons. But I think straight people probably don’t use it for the same reason — queer does have a negative connotation, whether people like it, agree with it, believe or not.

          • I like it because it’s a handy catch-all for when I mean “not heteronormative” and because it for me recalls the transgressive qualities of being gay that really resonated with me back when I was young(er) and miserable and alone. And I think it does carry qualities of non-normal–I don’t think I’d use it necessarily to describe very suburban/middle America gay people, for instance. I mean, being gay is not weird, but my sexuality is, I suppose? Because that’s how I contextualize it? And if you don’t see your sexuality as weird I can see why you’d then not want to be called queer, I guess.

            I’d assume it depends on the straight people, though–(well, duh)–whether they’re not using it because of the ‘weirdness factor’ or because of its having been a slur.

            Kudos for making me think and all. I guess I’m kind of in a ‘weirdness ghetto’ with my peer group.

  29. here’s a new one (or at least one that hasn’t been mentioned yet): i have two gay roommates who, from time to time, like to bust on me because i identify as bisexual. we like to debate, so one night they asked me if i have ever had sex with another woman even though they already knew the answer. so they said that because i didnt use a strap-on or go down on the other woman then they didnt consider it sex (and this was after they made me explain what sex is with another woman and they even questioned the validity of that – in relation to straight sex and gay male sex).

  30. First, time to acknowledge this: nice name, Chloe. :)
    About the word Queer (this was already mentioned in comments) – I talked to a straight male friend of mine (who I think may have even been the first person I came out to, he’s a nice dude) and he said he felt uncomfortable using it (as a straight person) because he still remembered it being used as an insult. The word has come a long way, really. I’m going to take advantage of the OED here – looks like it was first used in 1513 and originally meant, “Strange, odd, peculiar, eccentric. Also: of questionable character; suspicious, dubious.” Then it was used in 1914 (and onward) to refer to a gay person. Of course it’s been used as a sort of gay slur, and I think it’s a word we’ve successfully re-appropriated as a positive, non-restrictive identifier. But I guess there are people outside our community who don’t feel that they’ve earned the right to “reappropriate” and use the word when they don’t have that history of being oppressed in any way by it. I’m sure you’re aware of this already, and all, but that’s what I have to say on the subject (if I’m being brief).

    On the subject of sex, I haven’t really had to think about this as much as others, but I guess everyone can have their own personal definition of “sex.” I mean, I guess some straight people define only traditional intercourse as sex because they can get away with doing whatever else they want and still calling themselves virgins. If we want to get into etymology again, I remember my high school Latin teacher saying that “virgin” technically meant “untouched by man” – “vir” is “man” in Latin. I don’t have a problem with a straight woman deciding that for her experience with men, sex=penis+vagina. I think it’s very possible that I would consider an act “sex” in a lesbian couple that I would not need to call “sex” in a straight couple because it just means something different.
    My gay-boy roommate asked me to explain how lesbians could have sex, and I went through the basic ways it was possible, and he just said, “…Oh. I guess I knew that stuff already. Somehow I just thought there might be something special that I didn’t know about.” It was kind of adorable. He was trying to figure out when you’re not a virgin (as a gay person). We don’t have one set definition for this in the queer community, and at first we might be like, “…but… but I want a definition, I want someone else to tell me what makes me not a virgin” because we’re used to the heteronormative “rules,” but I think that if one can get over that, it can be freeing to not have to worry about “losing your virginity” when that can be kind of a meaningless/irrelevant word anyway.

    • Yeah, that’s a good question about the “how do non-heteros lose their virginities”, and I’m sure it’s troublesome for a lot of people, both straight and not. I think, for my personal hierarchy, that if someone else gives you an orgasm you’re not a virgin anymore, regardless of the manner. We just have a really weird societal concept where the only sex is PIV because it can lead to babies; in a country where abstinence is the only sex-ed, condoms are bad and so are other contraceptives, so kids are taught that as long as babies aren’t made, it’s not sex. Funny that all these Christian nutjobs are encouraging actual fornication because it’s discounted as “real sex”.

      I think I’m rambling again. Did I answer your rhetorical question? lol

      • I get what you’re saying esp like back in the old days all that had to happen was a broken hymen but considering there are women out there who have had plenty of sex but never an orgasm and not sure it can be defined so exclusively.

        • Ack, I need to be clearer: *any act that could induce an orgasm. Or, simply any direct genital stimulation. I feel like I’ve totally spammed this thread. So many feelings…!

  31. I gave up on #3, with the exception of the word “homosexual.” Gay, lesbian, queer, watevz, but if someone tries to describe me or anyone else as a “homosexual,” I launch off into my Angry Gay Rant AND THEN SUDDENLY EVERYONE IS QUEEREDUCATED AND THE WORLD IS PERFECT.

    It’s a worthy battle, I think.

  32. [Firstly let me say that I haven’t read any of the comments. I usually do on these things, but now I’m in a rush to leave but wanted to add my response. Sorry if this has been said already.]

    In response to #1, let me just say that your friends view about “sex” being defined “for her” as penis in vagina penetration is problematic even within the context of heterosexual sex. This distinction devalues other sex acts, like oral or manual stimulation, or whatever else you can think of. This is something I had been thinking about a few months ago, but sort of forgot about. Then a week or so ago, I made a cheeky comment about an encounter I had with a dude: “oh, well we had lesbian sex, but not hetero sex”. The friend I was speaking to asked me to clarify and I said: “ok, well there was a lot of half-naked grinding but no penetration”. After hearing that she graciously presented me with the above argument. That is, that heterosexual couples are liable to experience a lot of emotional/sexual difficulty when they view penis-in-vagina sex at the top of some hierarchy of sex acts. Frankly I was ashamed to have made that comment, so insensitive of me! It’s true though: what if a girl just can’t get off that way? What if it’s too much pressure for the guy… etc. etc. A lot of heterosexual (and homosexual!) couples suffer from this concept of a sex act hierarchy. I think it’s so much more enjoyable to be sexual with someone when it’s up to you to decide which actions to take, not some pre-defined obligation to center your activity around “the” sex act.

    • Sadly I think it’s going to be more problematic for the woman in a heterosexual relationship than the man. From what I’ve read, a lot of women can’t get off with “real/regular” sex and are more likely to get off by touching themselves than by penetrative sex. On the other hand, guys come pretty easily from penetrative sex, so defining sex in such a narrow sense benefits the man but not the woman. This is partly feminist anger and partly resentment that no man has ever made me come.ever.

      • It can be harmful to men too: the pressure to “perform,” which then leads to anxiety and the inability to do so, thus more anxiety, because you’re supposedly not a “real man” until you stick your penis into a woman’s vagina, and it’s only PIV that counts as “real sex.”

        The idea of PIV as “real sex” is terrible for everyone, not just queer people but straight cis people too. So let’s please stop validating that hierarchy of sex by saying, “Well, it doesn’t work for queer people, but it’s fine for the heteros.” I think it’s a terrible model, period.

        As a lesbian who had a boyfriend with whom she had a lot of sex, although everything but 30 seconds of it was not PIV, I want obliterate the PIV=sex model everywhere.

        Also, thank you for your comment, Vanans!

  33. Yes, I married a lady, but I’m still not a lesbian.

    (Or, the shorter version for the people at work: Yes, I married a lady.)

  34. The last picture! It is my identity in infographic form. I am usually on the ‘labels are for people not clothes’ bandwagon, but now wondering if there is some way to affix this to my body.

  35. I hate to tell you this but those people aren’t really your friends if they think those things much less express them.

    And the concept of “Allies”: HA! Good one!

  36. If lesbians can´t have sex explain Shane.


    Also if i´m what you refer too as ally do i have to invade normandy.

  37. OH LAWD. Attempting to talk about OR EVEN MENTION my gayness leads to my friends making what I call the Awkward Face. In their attempts to not look awkward, they bug their eyes out and purse their lips and choose a spot on the ground to stare at. I know they’re trying to make their faces look normal, but you guys, you look like goldfish.

    And I once said to my friend, “I’m gay, you guys,” and she said, “No you’re not, you’re a lesbian.” Bitch don’t tell me what to identify myself as.

    I think I need new friends, because they REFUSE to acknowledge that I’m gay or that me and my girlfriend are together. The people in my grade that I rarely talk to outside class are more accepting than them =\

    • holy freaking balls, get some new friends. If they can’t even accept a basic part of your identity then it’s pointless to deal with them.

  38. I once got in a huge argument with a friend who declared that since lesbians didn’t like penises they shouldn’t be allowed to use vibrators/dildos since they were penis shaped. Hours of reasoning about how ridiculous that is, and he never could come around to not believing that. It’s a pity because other than that he’s a great friend.

    • a lesbian comedian (I can’t remember who) was once quoted:

      “It’s not that I don’t like penises, I just don’t like them on men.”

      which i thought was hilarious and true :P

  39. no.1 biggest problem ever, the amount of girls who want to go round telling me that I’m still a virgin pisses me off or want to know how it happens so they can tell whether it’s sex or not but apparently it’s never sex and they’ll always have been further me. Bad hetero friends…

    #3I say call ppl whatever they want to be called. I have a friend who is essentially queer, I am essential queer, she wants to be called a lesbian opportunist, I want to be called a lesbian. Let ppl label themselves whatever they like.

  40. All I am sure of is that I need “queer as in fuck you” on a t-shirt like, five minutes ago.

  41. Anyone else have the problem of straight friends thinking you are attracted to every gay/bi/queer woman on the planet? It’s fucking annoying. For example, I’m planning on having a lesbian movie fest with my bisexual friend who I’ve been friends with since 7th grade and would NEVER consider hooking up with…but I told my straight friend about the plans and she a) said “OHHH is she a lesbian??” (which my other friend is NOT) and then b) said “so are you guys gonna hook up??”

    NO, NO I’m not going to hook up with her just because she has the same sexual orientation as me. Are you gonna fuck every straight guy you hang out with even if he has a unibrow and unbearable B.O.? I will designate who is attractive to me, don’t assume shit.

    Sorry that was a rant. *deep breaths*

  42. I’ve never identified as queer, and if I were called queer, I would probably flinch. Queer means abnormal and strange or different. I don’t feel that being gay, lesbian, or any sexuality or preference or gender makes you abnormal. We’re minorities, sure, but beyond that? We’re really just the same as anyone else.

    Some people like strawberries, and other people don’t–or they’re allergic. Some people like dogs and some prefer cats. I like women and some other women like men. WTF is the big deal? I just feel like if queer applies to me because I’m a lesbian, then queer should apply to anyone who differs from an exhaustive list of specifics (looks, taste, height, nationality, religion, weight, etc).

  43. I tend to deal with straight friends by expressing things as I feel about them (i.e. not only is gay sex real sex, it is also often the best sex, duh). I take advantage of most of the obvious opportunities in conversations to shake my head and laugh, “fucking heteros…” And when a new acquaintance the other day said “oh, so you swing both ways?” I responded with “oh, honey, I swing more than two ways.” I’ve generally found that the more I make it clear that I’m not only not embarrassed about any of my queerness but actually consider it to be an optimal situation, the less obnoxious people seem to be. And when all else fails, I remind myself that those poor kids are having much lamer sex than I am, which makes me feel better about settling for baby steps.
    I do find it weird, though, how reluctant people are to use the word “queer.” Some straight friends insist on referring to me as lesbian, especially when it provides easy context for conveying something gayish I’ve said to people I don’t know. I tend to find it even weirder when gay ladies insist on labeling me lesbian when I identify myself as queer and am also attracted to/sleep with men.

  44. Here in Venezuela, the word queer is not longer exclusive for gay community. Every single guy and girl here calls all their friends like that, marico/marica.

    Marico for boys
    Marica for girls

  45. I think a lot of people have this deeply rooted fear that queer is an insult. And even if you know it’s not, you run the risk of other people THINKING you’re saying it as an insult. Oh, the conundrums. It’s like women’s studies, only ten times worse because you can’t point to the textbook and yell “Judith Bulter said so, bitch!”. But maybe that’s just me.

  46. I have many feelings about this article/these comments.
    I don’t particularly discuss sex with anyone so, no direct experience feelings. But I vote with the people who say that sex should be personally defined w/r/t other humans’ rights to self-define as well. Kind of like politics: to each zir own.
    About wanting people to accept/use your self-identified label, I think most of my friends view me as a lesbian to which I don’t fully identify. But I think a good approach might be buying a label maker and wearing your identifying word/s on your chest for a week or two. Everytime they see you they’ll have to read it and it’ll seem so obsurd that the association of said word/label/term will be very strong.
    I like the word queer, I’d rather take it up than lesbian. But I do like obscure words. For example: my favorite phrase this week “licentious osculation” (a sexually uninhibited kiss or touch). For me queer works as a gender&orientation descriptive. Because even though I have a female body, I don’t feel like I am a female in my brain and of my self. But I don’t feel like I want to be/need to be/am male although I sometimes would prefer to have that body or at least be viewed that way and wear “men’s” clothes. Mostly, I spend time wishing I was intersex or something completely different that wasn’t male or female or intersex. Not in a Na’vi/alien species way, more of a block of clay/shapeshifter/snowflake type of fashion.
    If anyone relates or comprehends my POV or wants to ask a question I’d welcome the feedback.

  47. Is it just me, or does anyone else prefer to be called Gay or Lesbian over Queer? I dont have a problem with being called it or calling other people that(If they so identify) But it doesnt really fit my sense of identiy. Does not wanting to be called that make me a bad Lesbian?

    • What I neglected to put in my first comment what that I’m not “100% lesbian”, some would say i’m technacly Bisexual(or just enough to count). By that I mean mabye 90-95% Lesbian. a definant 5 on the 0-6 Scale. To me I am totally attracted to women in every way. However, once in a while some men’s faces can be attractive to me. But that’s it. I have ZERO desire to be with a man in any other way than a platonic friend. I don’t even like kissing them on their (facial) cheek. And I definantly do not find any other part of their anatomy attractive, just the face (for some unexplainable reason).

  48. I’ve had a similar discussion with a friend about sex; how she believed that sex is only male+female+penetration. – And “that was all”, according to her.

    To me sex is so much more and quite honestly I feel like she’s the one limiting herself, not me. It didn’t offend me, only because she has her beliefs and I have mine. Isn’t it always like that? Whether we talk about sex, religion, politics, whatever, we all have our very own individual opinion. Is it worth it getting worked up everytime you meet someone who thinks that you’re wrong and they’re right? No. You do, of course, need to stand up for yourself,but if you fight back everytime someone tries to knock you down you’ll get tired and you won’t see the point anymore.

    Enjoy your queer life and let your friend enjoy her straight life.

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