“Hey, this is Dyana, my lesbian friend.” My friend as she introduces me to her friends.
“This is Joe, he’s gay.” An acquaintance says as she drags her buddy over from the other side of the bar
I’m out and proud of my sexuality but that doesn’t mean I want a bunch of strangers knowing about it. I don’t like the way my preference is highlighted and solely becomes my identity. That as lesbian, this is the way my friends remember me. The ONLY way they remember me. If people came up to me and asked, I’d be happy to confirm and answer a few questions.
I’m sure that us out of the closet people have experienced this a handful of times. A friend introducing us to his/her collegues or friends and immediately bringing up our sexuality. This is usually a product of tactlessness and ignorance. Often, this is done by heterosexual friends. They don’t mean to offend us. Maybe they do this because they like having friends from the LGBT community that don’t fit the stereotype (lipstick lesbians and masculine gay men). It still puzzles them that we don’t fit in with the image the word associates with. Or maybe they’re just happy that they know gay or transgender people in general. Whatever the case, this is a very common occurrence.
I’m writing this because this is exactly what happened today at work. My officemates ordered pizza and our entire team of 22 people were eating and having a good time. We chatted with our cliques when one of them from the next table brings it up. “Hey Dyana! You’re a lesbian right?” Suddenly it was quiet. My spine stiffened, I was having an internal panic but I tried to play it cool by laughing it off. Then one of them said “You didn’t say anything! That means yes, right?’” and I replied with “I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t say no either” and laughed if off again. Even though I didn’t confirm it, it was a still a silent yes. I only told a handful of my team about my sexuality (maybe 7 people at most) and now 16 other people know. This is not good. Some of them could be homophobic and treat me differently. I felt embarrassed, and irritated. The bisexual girl beside me could only give a sympathetic smile cause she must know how I felt while one of my coworkers who I’ve told commented that it was such a tactless move.
My point is that people should stop outing others without the other person’s consent. It’s not cool and it does not make a good ice breaker. It’s awkward and can bring questions and judgements while barely knowing the other person. If a person wants to introduce a gay friend to their friends or colleagues, then bring up other things that make them interesting like they skateboard, paint, or write. Just don’t bring up their sexuality immediately unless permission is obtained.