I did a post about why I think it’s rude to ask someone if they’re gay almost two years ago, and recent events have made me want to revisit that post and make it current.
Last week, I got my hair twisted and the girl asked me, “are you in the life?” I swear she was talking about Greek Life, but she actually wanted to know if I was gay. My mom was right there, and yes she knows I’m gay, but I’ve always thought that was a rude question and having my mother there was even more awkward. Then, Anderson Cooper revealed his sexuality a few days later, and Frank Ocean after that. There have been many discussions on Twitter that have prompted me to write this post, so I hope you read it in its entirety and retain new knowledge. I’ll hit some points of interest first, and then proceed with the original post. Enjoy.
1) The reason most people find fascination in the knowledge of finding out someone is gay is because it is still a taboo subject. Gay is still something that is not entirely acceptable by American society or the world. We are still an enigma in many people’s mind, and they are doing their best to understand what made us this way. Xenophobia, or the fear of change, has always been the reason for a person’s dislike or discrimination against the “norm.” But the fact that we’ve been the exception of the norm for decades and longer – among others – should make it clear that we’re never going away.
2) For those people who find fault in someone being gay like Frank Ocean, and make a claim to never support them, what is your reasoning? Because this man had one relationship with another man – that we know of – you’re going to use that as a tool to not support his music? That’s like me never wanting to be friends with someone because their body can’t tolerate milk, which is something I love. Now, I’m not good with analogies, but my point is: if it’s something a person cannot change about themselves that makes them differ from what I’m used to and love, how can I discriminate against them and use that as a way to reject them from my life?
3) People need to realize that if a person is gay that one particular attribute does not define them. People will always assume that since I am male I am one way; that since I’m black I am another; and that since I’m gay I am a third. But, all of those make up the whole of who I am. Yes, I originate from the most dangerous city in America (2009), but does that make me one of the most dangerous people? That’s like determining my character by the color of my eyes or my Zodiac sign. These parts of me are so insignificant that they usually don’t ever direct my personality only influence it.
4) If someone wants to be private about their sexuality, then they have that right. To be honest, we all new Anderson Cooper was gay because he always made it clear that he did not want his personal life to jeopardize his career. I applauded him for that. His coming out was no surprise for those who have been with him for so long and have always assumed because of his secrecy. Frank Ocean actually didn’t owe us a coming out either. Yes, he wanted to be honest for reasons that I’m guessing were to stop the rumors or just lift a burden from his shoulders. But who he wants to love doesn’t affect my life in anyway. Yes, it was exciting news, but he didn’t owe me anything. I do appreciate them both for coming out, because now they have given me more role models to look up to in a time where homosexuality within society is meeting a turning point. We do need them to somewhat stand up for us.
That’s all the points I can think to hit on. Now the original post.
First off, we as gay people are ostracized, discriminated against, and bullied on a daily basis. Some of us are proud of who we are and exude that confidence daily, but that still doesn’t mean we like to put our homosexuality on a visible platform for the world to judge. I’m not going to shove my “gay” into your face and hopefully you won’t shove your “straight” into mine. Because of this, us as a people are always cautious of those that try to hurt us, so when we’re approached with this question and when we answer truthfully sometimes the response to our answer can be physical or verbal abuse (I’ve been there.) If you ask me if I’m gay and you’re response is, “Oh, I don’t like gay people,” then why did you ask? I’m not concerned with the things about you I don’t agree with, so why are you concerned with mine? What do you get out of it?
Another reason we don’t like this question is because it further pushes us into a box, secluding us from society as “normal” people. If I answer, “yes, I’m gay,” I’m now giving you the permission to tell all your inquiring friends, relatives, and colleagues to discuss about my sexuality, as if it’s the newest hot topic among mainstream media. I am not a subject of your friendly debates. I am a person who is living my life the way I intend to. Why does it matter if I have a label? Does this give you the right to further outcast me from your world, making me the alien or rebel of the group? Have I now given you a reason not to like me?
I know when I’m asked this question, just like others out there, the immediate response I want to give is, “why the hell do you want to know?” It doesn’t make sense of why a straight male would ask a gay male if he’s gay. Are you trying to either have a reason not to be my friend (I’ve been there) or are you trying to get into my pants because no one knows you like boy hole? Granted, straight men have asked me and the response is sometimes surprising. Most of them are intrigued and wonder how I became gay and what do I get out of sleeping with men. I’m not the representative to answer the questions from your curious mind. When straight women ask this and I answer yes, now I’ve given them the satisfaction of having a gay friend that they can talk to about boys and go shopping with. I’m not a commodity or a novelty item. I’m not the hottest, newest accessory out. Just because you now know that I am gay doesn’t mean you can showcase me to the world.
People ask this question for their own selfish gain and rude inquiries. My sexuality is open to the world and if you can’t recognize it then don’t ask. My homosexuality does not control my life and I won’t let you make it that way. Yes, I’m gay, but I’m other things, too. The only person that needs to know if I’m gay is the man I plan on having a relationship with. He is the only person to whom my sexuality is a concern. All other people are not subject to know, but I let you know out of the kindness of my heart.
Someone tried raising the issue that what if it was a gay guy that wanted to know, so if I were straight he wouldn’t offend. Trust me, if a gay guy’s radar is that bad then he need not be gay. When I approach guys I’m always myself without having to know their sexuality. If I sense they’re flirting and then they ask for my number, 10 times out of 10 he wants this ass. But if I see no interest coming from him, gay or not, then I don’t proceed. Even if he is gay he obviously still doesn’t want me so why look for confirmation? That’s like if a straight guy came up to a girl and asked if she was straight. I’m sure you’d frown up your face like, “What the hell? Can you not tell?” And that’s definitely coming up to someone disrespectfully, causing you to get nowhere with that person. Granted, I have flirted with straight guys before and it was obvious to them I liked them, but trust and believe I never intended to offend them. Flirting is harmless to people whom genuinely like you. They were always cool with it and I like when straight guys can be cool with me. Most of them know I’m gay without asking yet they continue to be my friend because they know it’s none of their business and they don’t care.
I’m sure there are questions that you yourself won’t even answer, or don’t understand the crass intentions behind it. Because sexuality is a private matter — although people like to think it’s not — asking someone if they’re gay is rude. Same goes for asking me about my financial issues and how much I get paid, my credit limit, my home life, my friends, my sex life, my dick size, my boyfriend’s dick size, and if I’m a top or bottom. If I don’t relay this information comfortably initially, then you don’t have the right to ask.
I hope everyone understands where I’m coming from. I’m not privately gay myself but my sexuality is private and doesn’t concern the world. Even if the world knows, my homosexuality doesn’t control me so don’t let it because I’m not.