"So, how do you have sex then?" asked a friend of mine, whilst I
choked, spat out my drink, and stared in disbelief. I thought it a
fairly obvious and ridiculous question, but then again I shouldn't
be too surprised by it. Comments such as "nonsense- you've been out
with boys!" and "you never know, this could just be a phase…" are a
real test of patience. You long to be taken seriously, so you feel
you must answer these frustrating questions. But can we answer
everything our straight comrades ask us? It's hard to try and get
your point across to somebody who cannot relate. However, we can
sure as hell try! But I find my answers are not good enough - or
are way too boring.
The pressure to not disappoint your straight interviewer is
quite high. They seem curious and interested to know more about
sexuality. I mean, who better than to ask a gay person about being
gay? They appear to be waiting for a big revelation, a profound
statement, something that allows the subject to be understood
fully. To explain something so complex (and personal) can be
awkward to say the least. Not all of us figure out our sexualities
when we're 8 or 9 years old, we have to go through the motions -
and this itself is a sore and tough subject for us to understand,
never mind to talk about.
So why is there so much pressure to declare your sexuality and
explain yourself to your friends, your family or colleagues? You
can't expect to fully understand yourself, yet people demand this
of you if you're gay. The truth is, you are the way you are. Nobody
asks how you knew you were straight and nobody expects an
explanation for that either. So why should we have to explain why
we're gay? Or why we know it's "not a phase" and we won't go "back
to boys" next Saturday night? If someone has to understand the
mechanics of something instead of just accepting it, life is going
to be a constant challenge for those people.
Here's the bottom line: questioning gay people comes across as
rude or insensitive, and produces an ongoing pressure to understand
yourself more than a straight person should. I am a lesbian and I
cannot reveal the 'mystery' of being one. There - I said it!
Hopefully, with no questions asked.
Follow Kim on Twitter: @KimberlyBlunden