Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something You're Not

Earlier, I mentioned that I would be posting some rambling and some controversial topics.  Here we go!

Have you ever been mistaken for someone or something you’re not?  If so, how did you react?  I’m not talking about the tired pickup line, “Do you have a sister?”.  I’m talking about being mistaken for a being a different sexual orientation than you are.  

More than once, I have been mistaken for being a lesbian.  The first time was understandable:  I was in a gay bar (it’s a long story).  Another incident, I didn’t really understand.  A gal friend and I were on a scavenger hunt.  All of the teams were male/female, save for the gay male hosts.  Due to some questions we were asked by the hosts, it finally dawned on us that they thought we were lesbians.  We found this to be hilarious, and laughed all the way home.

Since I think it is funny, I haven’t spent much time wondering about why someone would think I’m something I’m not.  All I could come up with was appearance (I wear pants most of the time and don’t know how to do makeup/hair very well) and personality (I hate shopping, like cars and hug both boys and girls).  Some people would be offended by this type of mistake.  Why?  They are disgusted and/or afraid.  How DARE someone think they like the same gender!

As we all know, there are millions of people who find gays repulsive.  Some blindly cite religious doctrine, while others go further and harass or kill them.  Others simply will not tolerate gays for vague reasons.  Although I do not understand being attracted to the same gender, that doesn’t make me afraid of people who do.  As long as what you do behind closed doors is safe and consensual, I don’t care if you like boys and/or girls.  

I don’t become friends with people based on their orientation.  If you possess characteristics such as humor, tolerance, honesty, loyalty, caring, intelligence and a zest for life, then there’s a good chance we would be pals.  In my lifetime, there is only one friend I have stopped communicating with due to an orientation issue:  she became employed by an organization that “cured” gays.  She loved her job and found it fulfilling.  Well, everyone has a different calling in life.  While I did not tell her how appalling I thought this was, I communicated with her less and less until there was none.  I am not really into debate, avoid the topics of religion and politics, and try my best to respect other people’s opinions (even if I don’t agree with them).

My personal interest in this is inspired by my cousin.  He was a flaming, every-stereotype-you-can-think-of gay.  He had the gay voice, mannerisms, saunter and boyfriend, and I loved him dearly.  He had the misfortune of having relatives who denied what he was.  They refused to acknowledge that he was gay.  When he had cancer, they would not visit him in the hospice because they were convinced he had AIDS (and was contagious).  I visited him as often as I could, held his hand, gave him hugs and made him laugh.  The way he was treated by our relatives (and the way he responded to it) also taught me not to hold a grudge against such people.  Although they have every right to believe what they choose (as I do), they missed out on a wonderful person.  He taught me how to die with grace and dignity, and I will always remember him for that.

In short:
  • Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.
  • Don't be afraid of different things.  
  • Open your mind - you just might learn something.
  • Enjoy people for their qualities, not their labels.
  • Hug generously!
  • Laugh.  Love.  Live and let live.


  1. You have a generous soul. Know that very few people are like you. You have a gift.

  2. The only time I've been mistaken for a lesbian is when I was trying to be mistaken for a lesbian. Creepy guy at the club wouldn't leave me alone, so I kissed my friend on the lips and said, "Sorry, I'm with her." Amazingly, that didn't stop him.

    Karma is a bitch just like me, so all of those who treated your cousin badly when he needed them the most will receive the same treatment when they most need love and compassion.

  3. Bruce: Thanks! I was hesitant to post something controversial, but realized that that is what this blog is for.

    Sandra: Perhaps I sound generous, but in reality closed-minded people like my hypocritical relatives make me sad and angry. I don't really want to have anything to do with them, but fake it to keep the peace.

    Mrs. Hyde: Karma has already come calling to one of the loudest gay-denying relatives. Let's just leave it at that....

  4. Excellent post....and so true...I left some love for you over at my place :-)

  5. Chief aka Dad sent me, and I'm so glad he did. I have quite a few friends that are gay and wouldn't swap them for the world. You are an amazingly, strong and insightful person, I just wish I could have sent a hug to your cousin when he needed it most.

  6. I have been mistaken for a lesbian many times, usually when I cut my hair short. Doesn't bother me. Usually makes me laugh.
    Great post!

  7. Chief: Awwww, you are too kind. :-) Actually, you surprised the heck out of me!

    Welcome, Twilightgazing and Jess! I think I gave my cousin hugs for many. He died knowing he was loved. :-) And if someone thinks I'm LBGT or whatever, I just let 'em. It's fun to yank people's chains sometimes.

  8. Last year I went to a Gay Pride 10k in West Hollywood, CA (THE Capital of Gay-dom). I was cheering on a friend during the run.

    Disappointingly, the hot (but gay) men didn't notice me; nor did the lesbians flirt with me. This hetero's ego was quite bruised.

  9. Marissa, sometimes the hot gay guys have hot hetero brothers. Keep cheering them on - you never know!

  10. When I was in junior high I was overweight and wore baggy clothes and had short hair. One of my family members was convinced I was a 'dyke'.
    I still can't understand how people can be so hateful and angry towards the LGBT community.


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