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Author Topic: comments not being inclusive to all genders/sexual orientations
cool87
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(I've wanted to start a topic on this. I don't know though if that's really pertinent to you guys (if it isn't just feel free to delete it) but it felt like it for me personnally.)

I've always been a bit bothered (or maybe uncomfortable...hard to describe how I really feel) when people make comments who are not inclusive to all genders/sexual orientations. Sometimes it's just like a teacher saying something like ''hey girls...you're going to be happy because there will be boy's pics in the presentation''. I know it's really common and easier to not be really inclusive so that's far from the only example I have here.

And I find it a bit surprising actually that I feel that way. Other people I know don't seem much affected by it (or they just don't voice it period). It's not that I take it personnally since I'm heterosexual as far as I know (although I have moments when I doubt I'm really heterosexual and not bisexual instead) so I don't think that's because I don't find myself included. I just don't know where that really comes from.

I just wanted to know if other people who aren't GLBT felt like that too sometimes ? And how about you people who are gay, lesbians, bi or transexual ? How do you feel when you hear someone talking and making comments which aren't inclusive to your gender or sexual orientation or simply to others ? Does that bother you, how do you feel about that ?

(I'm not too familiar with the GLBT, genders, sexual orientations stuff so you'll excuse me if I happened to confuse some of those words or use them inappropriatly. Just know that I didn't mean to.)

[ 09-11-2007, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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oppulent_things
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I know what you mean.

It seems narrow minded (old-fashioned, even?) to assume that all women will be predisposed to like men, without exception.

I suppose people just make generalisations, as you say, purely for ease & expediency.

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Heather
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Comes from compassion, cool. [Smile]

That's a very good thing.

Because I'm not of color shouldn't mean that I'm not deeply troubled by racism, and concerned about racial inclusion and tolerance. When someone isn't -- even when it isn't about them -- it's usually a symptom that they're simply not thinking very far beyond themselves and their privilege, nor being very empathetic.

Obviously, the goal when it comes to social justice is for everyone to learn compassion and tolerance and empathy (or, I'd say more accurately, to UNlearn self-absorption, bigotry and apathy -- I'm fairly optimistic in that I think these things are very much learned behaviours). Were that the case, we'd be at social justice for everyone, at tolerance and inclusion for everyone, at equality for everyone.

Sad, really, that things can be so bad that anyone who isn't bigoted or noncompassionate has to wonder why they care so much!

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snail
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I think it is awesome that you care about how GLBT people are often casually excluded.

I identify as a lesbian, but I try not to get too upset about assumptions because often it's unconscious. It depends a lot on the context how much it bothers me. Teachers, textbooks, and other authority positions are most annoying. It's not active persecution or usually meant to be, it's just...not welcoming, you know?

Whenever someone takes care to include other orientations in speaking or text, as a queer person I feel...included! It makes it easier. For instance, I went to a pre-orientation at my college and spent some time in the women's center, where they did a Q&A for all the girls. They very kindly referred to one's "boyfriend or girlfriend" throughout, and after some older students went through tongue-in-cheek dating advice I was brave enough to raise my hand and ask whether there was a GLBT organization on campus. Because of their inclusiveness I knew that it would be okay, if that makes sense.

I think a lot (but certainly not all) of GLBT people are, like me, wary of sharing their orientation without some kind of sign that people won't get out the torches and pitchforks. Inclusiveness in these things puts us much more at ease. [Razz]

[ 09-12-2007, 07:04 PM: Message edited by: snail ]

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-Jill
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I know it can be scary to put yourself in the spotlight, but if you can, speak up about these things. Every time someone is politely called out on their heterosexism, not only do they have to think about what they're saying but everyone else within earshot does too.

Something as basic as questioning why someone might assume all the girls would be excited to see boys makes glbt that much less invisible, which leads to that much more compassion. If you can do it, go for it. [Smile]

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lexie
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I've thought about this many many times, and pointed it out to people (teachers, friends, relations etc, but from a more objective point of view) I identify as pansexual (or, in more common terms I suppose, bisexual) but I'm not necessarily "out" - as in, I don't feel the need to announce my sexuality to others, but I'm completely happy explaining my preference when someone asks, i.e. my parents don't know this, and frankly, I feel why should they, who I choose to sleep with is my buisness.

But this topic reminded me of something thats bothered me recently, this customer at work has been hitting on me, and asking me out for several months, and despite me clearly showing I wasn't interested, he hasn't let up, it's not so much he disrespects that i'm saying NO, but its that he assumes I am straight and that I want to date men, and that it's just a matter of time until I agree, or am seduced, or whatever.

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lexie
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p.s. I didn't mean to imply anyone was not being objective, I just never pointed out their heterosexism in the context of being known as "not straight"
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PenguinBoy
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I'm always distracted by the rest of the conversation, but then as an afterthought it really offends me which makes it difficult to point it out when I need to.

I wouldn't feel ok telling a teacher that they were being non-inclusive, as it's not really the done-thing to do what they would call undermining their authority, and question their intentions in front of their students. A couple of times, with certain teachers I've actually managed to approach them and nervously tell them that they said something i didn't like, and a couple of times they've asked my opinion. But the ones who really are at times offensive, aren't the ones who I'd find approachable, and I wouldn't trust the school management with any complaints.

When in conversation and someone says something non-inclusive, I always reply with something blatantly INclusive. They tend to rethink their original comment without me actually accusing them of anything.

It's a difficult thing because many people, live in a world where anything but heterosexual activity is still swept under the carpet, especially by my parents generation. So to many people brought up in that environment, GLBT folks are just a distant hypothetical specter. It's not because they hate queers, but because they've become used to things being that way. I've mentioned inclusiveness in people's comments before who are actually really offended because it's as though I'm calling them sexist, and they don't intend to be so, and don't say things out of malice, but in real issues of equality are strong believers. It's a minor immediate offense to me, but it offends me more as an afterthought because it's a social habit which causes further inequalities to escalate to some really obviously gruesome stuff. Thereby proving it actually to be extremely destructive.

[ 09-14-2007, 06:20 AM: Message edited by: PenguinBoy ]

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Sakura Sky
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Luckily some more progressive schools these days gay-straight alliance programs and people are becoming more educated on GLBT issues and making proper inclusion a norm. If your school doesn't already have one, perhaps you could talk to your principle or even school board. You sound like you'd be a great ally to have.

As a lesbian, personally I do feel left out when I hear someone making comments that aren't inclusive of me. It makes me feel like a second-class citizen that practically doesn't exist sometimes. However, I don't let it get to me.
I simply remind myself, especially with older generations, that they're more likely than not, NOT doing it maliciously or purposely, it just hasn't sunk in yet and maybe never will for them. Change is hard, especially when it comes to attitudes on 'morals' and traditional values.

I also take comfort that a lively GLBT community exists, even in my city, where I CAN feel included, and my gender/identity/orientation is not only recognized but celebrated with pride.

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plain milyeh
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heterosexist assumptions kinda make me roll my eyes. usually i just kinda mumble something grumpy about it under my breath, but sometimes i'll get annoyed enough to actually speak out loud. it depends on the situation, as in whether or not there's really time to dispute the fact--or how relevant it is to the situation at hand...or, you know, how awake i am at the time. [Wink]

generally, i feel like the best way to combat this is to watch my own speech. if we all make conspicuous efforts not to assume that everybody's heterosexually inclined, maybe others will start thinking about the words they've been using a little more.

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feefiefofemme
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Heterosexism just plain gets on my nerves. To some degree you have to exersize a little patience, of course. After all, it wouldn't be very reasonable of me to fly off the handle every time a friend of mine asks what guy I have a crush on. But I do end up in a lot of situations where I feel a little left out because of non-inclusive comments. I guess it's something you just have to deal with, growing up queer and mostly closeted. I try to address it a lot of the time, and I use inclusive language myself, but you can only do so much.

That said, I absolutely glow when other people do use inclusive language. I remember clearly all the incidences where someone made the extra effort to tack on an "or girlfriend" to that ever-popular "do you have a boyfriend yet?" question. It makes me feel good to know that not everyone is completely wrapped up in their happy heteronormative world without a care for those of us on the outside (and I know a lot, maybe even most, of heterosexual people aren't this way, but it can feel like that sometimes).

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Adryan
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I'm not usually bothered very much, but it really gets me when it comes to issues of abuse.

Through most of high school and middle school I was hearing "rape is when a man forces a woman to have sex" and "domestic violence is when a man assaults his wife or children" and other things of that nature.

College actually acknowledged the existence of male victims, but still maintained that it was "a statistical anomaly".

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eryn_smiles
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I hate it when people who should really know better make heterosexist assumptions. Like doctors at student health. And professors who are supposed to counsel students. Always, "do you have a boyfriend?" Of course it turns you off confiding in them if you're not heterosexual.

Also regarding abuse and domestic violence, i agree with Adryan- there are male victims. And there are also male and female victims in same-sex relationships. It is so important that we do not exclude them

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