In one aspect, being gay has hindered me socially.
It isn’t all bad – some people love gay people! And as demeaning as it is for someone to declare that they love me just because of one part of my identity, it’s at least a little reassuring.
But, I think there is a part of every person’s mind that labels me. And even if someone “has no prejudice”, I am still mentally labelled in a way that straight communities often are not.
I think as humans, we like organization, and if I’m mentally labelled, then I’m easier to categorize and put away in someone’s mental cupboard.
I had a friend once try to describe someone to me. She was someone at my school that I knew, but I was having trouble putting a name to a face. This was a very good friend of mine! I trusted him a lot and he never treated me differently because of my sexual preference or anything. But, in describing this girl, he listed off a few of her physical attributes, and then says, “Oh, she’s gay.” And I was taken aback because I truly did not know what to make of that comment. She is gay. That’s a fact about her. And it made me remember who she was. But, the fact that, in thinking about who this person is and how to describe her, he chose to tell me about her sexual preference: She was labelled in his mind. And she was labelled in mine, too! If she had been straight, who she felt sexual or romantic feelings for would not have entered the conversation. Even if he doesn’t treat her or me any differently, we are still labelled. Both of us are.
Last modified: June 23, 2017