Saturday, December 1, 2012
Family Values: Heterosexism & Homophobia?
As a woman, a feminist, and a friend of many in the LGBT community, I was floored when an immediate family member attempted to inform me that my male partner and I are both 'in the closet" and simply don't know it. This person then encouraged us to "come out."
Despite being around this family member many times, they (and allegedly "everyone" in the family) have long speculated and have now concluded that my relationship is merely a closeted scam to veil my suppressed homosexuality. When I did reply with, "no, that's not true," this person claimed that this response only validated their suspicions.
This random, seemingly homophobic accusation appeared to be triggered by a post that I had made on another social media website that alluded to my decision to remain unmarried and childless. Other hints of my latent lesbianism? Well, according to this person, other "clues" included the title of this blog, my abundance of (amazing) lesbian friends, and my less-than-immense interest in heteronormative sex.
This online-ambush was likely due in part to my attempts to resist the normative, patriarchal, power-imbalanced, gendered relationship conventions that they seem to have internalized.
Further, I assume that this person went through a series of preconceived notions before concocting their theory on my sexuality: "what kind of woman has hairy legs, loves politics, hates makeup, swears, and doesn't want to ever marry or have children? and "What kind of man would stay in a relationship that isn't centered around his dick? What kind of man prefers art, cooking, communicating over spectator sports and emotional repression?"
So, what does one do when family members, many of whom interact exclusively with other middle class, heterosexual white people, assume an identity for you then proceed to pigeon-hole, scrutinize and evaluate your relationship and sex life? You back off, put your hands up, and say Fuck it.
Fuck it because I know that 1) When someone tells you who they are, you should believe them 2) When someone tells you they are not who you say they are, you should believe them 3) If I were a Lesbian I would know and I would be the one identifying myself 4) If you care so much about creating and circulating theories about other people's sexualities and categorizing relationships that don't fit into your restrictive worldview, maybe you should re-examine yourself.