There are a large number of questions which when posed in front of people of the LGBTQIA+ community, make them feel ridiculed and belittled. We should realise the position of privilege that the cis-het people enjoy in the society and do whatever in our power to make them feel comfortable. We need to understand that asking certain questions and making certain comments is not right. Let us go through some of these questions and understand why we should refrain from asking them.
“Is this just a phase?”
This question in its essence is questioning their identity. Being queer is not a phase you get into to lift your spirits rather it is who they are and it is better you get comfortable with it at the earliest.
For couples: “Who’s the boy and who’s the girl in the relationship?”
This question is undoubtedly the most asked question. It is clearly visible that the questioner assumes that heteronormativity is the way, and thus a boy and a girl are necessary in every relationship.
“Are you sure you’re gay? You don’t look like it!”
Now again, questions like this are either asked out of complete ignorance about LGBTQIA+ people or to mock them. Here, it is being assumed that your gender expression should be coherent with your sexuality. How one expresses themselves might or might not have anything to do with their orientation. It also implies that the speaker has already set views of how homosexual people should dress.
“How do you know you are not straight if you have not been in a heterosexual relationship?”
Nobody needs to experience other relations to know where they fit. It is not like choosing a chair, first, you feel it and then you decide which one is most comfortable for you. We are who we are and we can’t change our sexuality or gender because we are designed that way, for good.
“Have you had sex?” OR “How do you have sex?”
I am sure you wouldn’t ask this question from your straight friends unless they are very close to you and you usually talk about it. Then why do you think it is right to ask the same from gender and sexually diverse people. If you are very curious, then it is better to look on the internet in your own time.
“Have you had the surgery?”
Any question concerning anybody’s genitals is a big NO. First of all there is no single surgery that works for everyone. While transitioning, they might have gone through one, two, several, or none of the surgeries and it is not your concern and you should not ask unless they volunteer.
“When did you decide to be what you are?”
Do cis-het people decide before being heterosexual? In the very same way, there is no point and time when one decides to identify as queer. Yes, there might be a gradual or late realization due to our society’s stigma about it but they have always been like it.
This is not an exhaustive list of questions that one should not ask from LGBTQIA+ individuals. There are many more such questions. Curiosity is not bad, but neither is showing sensitivity to what is important to others. You can always find it on the internet but if you really want to ask, firstly know if you would be okay if someone asked you the same and if the answer is yes, then ask them if they are comfortable answering some of your questions. Move ahead only if they say yes else drop it at that very instant. Look after everybody because we stand together.
~Written by Shefali Garg