Gender and Sexuality Minorities Affinity Group
Welcome to Queeries, the Gender and Sexuality Minorities Affinity Group’s (GSM) public question-answering forum. If you have a question you’d like to ask the members of GSM regarding queer life, terminology, or anything else, we’d love to answer it.
Queery #2: How should I respond to rumors that someone I know is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
This can be a very confusing situation to be in, but we’ve condescended what we think is the most appropriate response and why.
- Shut down the rumor mill! Rumors about a person’s sexuality and/or gender identity are often based on stereotypes. If a person hasn’t openly disclosed their sexuality or gender identity to you, then you do NOT know how they identify and it isn’t right to assume so.
- If someone tells you they heard a rumor about someone’s sexuality, ask them if they heard the person in question say that themselves, or if they heard it from someone else. If it was from someone else, again, the speculation is inappropriate.
- The fact that a rumor like that exists in the first place implies a level of scandal or shame, which absolutely should not be the case—a person’s sexuality/gender identity is neither embarrassing nor wrong.
Ok, so how should you respond?
- “Why does it matter how that person identifies?”
- “Let’s not speculate about something so personal.”
- “Why don’t you ask that person yourself?”
But sometimes you’ll hear, “Got it. But I’m not asking about this person to be mean—I’m just curious!”
- Sometimes, people will speculate about a person’s sexuality/gender identity and have no malicious intent. People are naturally curious about what is different from them. However, good intent or not, speculation about a person’s identity is still inappropriate.
- It isn’t always a good idea to just ask someone if they’re gay or not. Many people wouldn’t be comfortable answering a question like that from someone they don’t know well. If you don’t feel very close to that person, hesitate before asking them such a personal question.
- If you don’t feel close enough to that person to ask them yourself, though you may be curious about what their sexual orientation/gender identity is, it probably just isn’t your business. If you know them well, consider admitting your curiosity and asking them politely.
Everyone has the personal right to come out how and when they see fit. There’s no We in Identity!
GSM encourages members of our community to ask us any questions/Queeries they have about the queer community or even questions they have about their own gender and/or sexuality. If you want to submit a Queery to Queeries, you can either write it on a slip of paper and leave it in Haley Goldenberg’s or Nick Pranger’s mailbox or submit it via email to email@example.com. We’ll answer them together next time we have a meeting. We meet in room 433 during Affinity block on Day 3.
Our meetings are always open, so come visit if you’re interested.
Yours queerly, GSM