The other day I was sitting on the couch with my mom when she turned to me and said, completely out of the blue, “Is your friend gay?”
I was extremely taken aback but without hesitation I replied, ”Yes…”. She followed it up with, “Does he have a boyfriend?”, to which I responded no. She then asked me this:
“Then how does he know he’s gay?”
I smiled a bit (although I don’t think she realized it was a bitter smile) and responded as boldly as I dared. “No one ever says that to straight people.”
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a very long time. The idea struck me right around when I was re-watching season 1 of Glee, when I realized just how problematic one of the things Sue says is. She tries to lecture Kurt on sexuality when he claims that he is gay, and one of the things she says is, “You see, that’s the problem with your generation. You’re obsessed with labels.”
The problem I had with her speech was that that line is very true. Many people are obsessed with labels, and it’s not beneficial for all of the different shades of gender and sexuality that exist out there. But the fact that the line was included in her ‘speech’ gave the impression that everything else she was saying is also true. Here’s what I want to know. Does Sue walk around her high school every day and find straight couples making out, and say the same thing to them? Did she ever reprimand Quinn for her boyfriend, because she’s never kissed a girl and therefore can’t be sure she’s not a lesbian?
The core of the advice, don’t be too quick to judge, is lost in the fact that the only person Sue decides to tell this to is the one kid who dares to claim that he’s gay. Sure, 16 years might be too young to decide on sexuality (for some, not all). But you know it’s complete BS when people only decide to share this ‘wealth of knowledge’ with people who have decided on any sexuality that deviates from the norm, which is heterosexuality. Apparently you’re only allowed to “not know what you are” if you want to be anything other than straight.
And the other point she tries to bring up is how someone could know that they’re gay if they’ve never kissed someone of the same sex. Bypassing the obvious (which again is, no one ever says this to straight people) this kind of ideology just doesn’t make sense to me. Sexuality isn’t the same thing as, for example, saying you don’t like a meal before you’ve even tasted it. People have eyes. It’s insulting to tell someone that they can’t know who they’re attracted to until they’ve had some sort of physical, sexual interaction with them.
The bottom line? It’s no one’s place to decide or even make statements on another person’s sexuality or preferences. It’s a personal decision. If you think they’ve ‘chosen wrong’, it’s not your place to comment on it. They will figure it out on their own and experience that journey themselves.