Stop Asking Gay Couples This Question

Yeah, but which one’s the girl?

Have you ever been asked that about a gay couple, because I have. Usually in a hushed tone like the person knew what they were asking was offensive, but somehow couldn’t not ask.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

Which one is the girl?

Um…Neither. You get they are both guys, right?

Yeah, but which one is the girl?

And I so want to ask them what exactly they are asking: Which one bottoms? Who does the cooking? Who changes the oil? But I think I already know.

Because usually this question is asked by men who can’t quite wrap their head around the idea that neither one is the girl. Or they are both totally and completely equal partners in their marriage or relationship. That maybe they both do the cooking, the cleaning, the diaper changing, the yard work, the bill paying, the…whatever, and those daily chores are divided based not on what is or is not hanging between their legs, but on skills, interests, talents, and, well, life.

Asking this question means that you’re a firm believer in strict gender roles: “I’m the man, I change the oil. You’re the woman, you do the grocery shopping.” That, my friends, is more or less the norm in our society, and to shake it up by having a marriage made up of two men or two women is a rather uncomfortable idea for anyone who hasn’t encountered healthy LGBTQ relationships before.

I also think there is a layer of insecurity in that question. One that asks, “If that was my relationship, where would I fit in?” In other words, who would take care of me and my needs if we were both equal?

Now before you flex your fingers, ready to send me a scathing comment, hear me out. I’m not saying all straight men don’t get it, nor am I saying that all straight relationships have an unequal balance of power. What I am saying is that perhaps straight people could learn something about equality in relationships from gays and lesbians who don’t have those crazy gender norms hanging over them.

In a strange way, it is the ultimate feminist statement—for lesbians and gays. These men and women are saying publicly and privately they don’t need the opposite gender to live a happy, fulfilled, love-filled life, while saying they are perfectly capable of taking care of each other’s needs and desires without buying into social norms of what a man or woman is “supposed” to be.

Men can cook dinner, do the laundry, and load a dishwasher. And so can women. Women can mow the lawn, pay the bills, and replace a garbage disposal. And so can men.

It’s a powerful statement about who we all are, what we are all capable of, and just how skewed our values are when we need to put a metaphorical vagina on a man just to feel comfortable about a relationship.

A native Texan, Leesa Freeman enjoys escaping the chill of New England, if only in her imagination, often setting her novels in the places she loved growing up. Visit her website to find out more about her debut novel, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, available on Amazon, or her upcoming novel, Into the Deep End.

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