So, another day I shared an infographic through Instagram stories about how “alternate” sexualities and genders are natural. The infographic was compiled by Alok Menon, one of Instagram’s most influential activists. After a while, I get this casual reply from a friend saying “Don’t try to convert me, B*tch”. Now, don’t take me wrong, the offense isn’t in the B word. The offense is that he thought that my intention was “converting” people.
As soon as I laid back a little, I realised that this isn’t something new. A lot of my straight plus my LGB friends are somehow uncomfortable around sexualities. Let me tell you how.
“I accept you but don’t hit on me”
I guess this is a classic reply from those toxic masculine guys whenever the three magical words are uttered. You say “I am gay” and they say, “cool” but then comes “I’m not”
Many times among my countless come outs I’ve wondered if said “I am gay” or “I like you” because people do seem to take the latter meaning. And I know people are open and casual about men liking men and women liking women and both liking both but somehow they seem to make it about themselves while it isn’t.
The sudden change in the behaviour
Sometimes when you come out, people suddenly go from this very cool and laid back friend to this all-time-aware, super serious-about-themselves person. They assume that just because I’m gay I’m constantly ready to jump on them any time they seem a little friendly. I do understand that people need time to wrap their heads around the fact that their friend is not what they thought they are but most people just don’t come to peace. So, what they do is, they distance themselves and always keep everything about business. The fun dies, the connection dies and so does the friendship after a while.
Here’s a relative perspective, if you are a straight man in a group of straight women, are you always beware of them being ready to jump on you? And what would happen if they made a pass on you? Can’t you just calmly push them away and say you’re not into them? Won’t you still try and be friends with them? Or is everything just ruined because your friend dared to have a little crush on you? And if all of this is okay then why does this not apply to your male friend too? I mean yes, things do get awkward but if we just be honest and understanding then everything can get just like before.
“Don’t try to convert me!”
Every time someone shares something explanatory or anything about gender and sexualities there are always these people who try to save themselves from becoming gay by repelling themselves from the information. As if by reading the whole writing would magically flip a switch.
What most people fail to understand is no one can be converted. However, it takes some time for people to find their true selves. Some people find “being gay” so uncomfortable that they just steer away from everything gay irrespective of what their own sexuality is.
And It might be hard to comprehend but there isn’t an international conversion cult where all gay men are recruited with a single most important mission of converting all straight folks around them. If you are scared that you could be converted then maybe you are not as confident about your own sexuality and hence the mere presence of your fellow gay friend feels like a threat to you.
But here’s what you can do if you feel that someone is hell bent on making you understand that you’re gay. Tell them to stay away. If they don’t understand and respect your ways of being then don’t tolerate them in your life. Simple.
What would people think?
Your friend came out to you. He also came out to the whole class. You are his best friend and also his room mate. You are afraid people might think you two are a thing while you’re not.
I get it. We all have faced this question since 4th grade. But back then it was about our capabilities, our intelligence, our relationship status with women but now it’s about men. so now that you understand that this doesn’t have much to do with people but your approach. Because people always have something to say. Your approach should still remain the same. You can’t control what people think. And you can’t be an asshole because of “what people would think”.
“You don’t look gay”
I’m not gonna explain this one. This one is just stupidity because there’s no one way to be gay.
The last time, which was a long time ago, I watched a movie in theatres, I remember this girl on the seat next to my friend say to her boyfriend “was that gay couple necessary in the plot?”
And I, for a fact, know that more than half of heterosexual community feel the same way. But here’s a thought. Almost every movie starts with “there once was a boy and a girl” if not the subtle introduction of a boy and a girl in the movie. Almost all of the advertisement are directed towards cisgender straight couple. If you pay attention they are everywhere. On billboards, on book covers, in horror movies, in war movies, in documentaries.
A report released by GLAAD shows that out of 118 Hollywood movies released in 2020 only 22 included LGBTQ characters. Yet, people find it unnecessary. This intolerance stems from the belief that heterosexuality is the normal sexuality and rest are just alternate sexualities. And this extends to how straight people treat people of LGBTQ community too.
We humans fail to understand that we are equal. Yet, we have the need to feel better, to feel superior and hence we constantly try to find new ways to do that. We did it by creating caste, religion, and classes. The Heteronormative approach being recent of them.
Finally, I’d like to say that we should always ask ourselves if what we are doing is right or wrong and learn to obey the feeling. The gut always knows the right thing to do.