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Author Topic: Straight Girls and Queer Girls...discuss!
bluejumprope
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I thought it would be fun and informative to hear from hetero and queer women about how we experience relating to each other, and to air out any preconceived ideas or fears we have that make it harder.

I know I tend to make some assumptions about straight women, and I often feel pretty anxious around you all. Particularly in middle and high school I felt left out a lot around straight girls and worried about being judged.

One assumption I've been noticing I make (despite having tons of evidence to the contrary), is that when I hear about a woman in a relationship with a man, I tend to assume that the sexual relationship is in big ways non-consensual and that straight women are less self-aware and empowered about their sexuality--whereas all lesbians are super-empowered and only have amazing sex (I know that one's not true from first hand experience [Smile] ).


So, some questions:

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

[ 02-17-2009, 10:38 PM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Beckylein
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Interesting post, bluejumprope [Smile] It really made me think!

Maybe being a heterosexual female, I don't think a whole lot about how others perceive my relationship with my partner. It just is what it is. Maybe it's wrong of me, but I just perceive everyone's sexual or partnered relationships as their own business and not really part of who they are in relationship to me, be it heterosexual or queer. It just really isn't something I think about when I think about other people.

As per your questions [Smile] :

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

I have quite a few friends who are of a different sexual orientation than myself, and, like I said above, it really isn't something I'm aware of. Even when we talk about our relationships, their partner is just of a different gender, and it's not really something big and different or divisive between us. It's more just...the way things are?

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

Nope.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

Not really that I can think of. I really don't want to offend anyone here or destroy a safe place here, so I will try to phrase this as delicately as I can. Please let me know if there's a better phrasing. If this does come off as offensive, I really am sorry. Sometimes it seems like queer women present as though their sexual identity is a bigger and more important part of who they are than hetero women do. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the struggle for rights and recognition and everything else that, perhaps, deepens the sexual identity as an extremely important one. Maybe it's because, as a white, heterosexual female, I haven't had to face those discriminations or fight and struggle in the same way that many queer women have to, but I don't identify first through my sexuality.

Many of my dear friends and many people I know (more in Seattle than Regina, and maybe that's because Seattle is significantly more open to the existence of the queer crowd than Regina is...) will introduce themselves to new people and one of the first things out of their mouths after their name is, "and I'm gay!" or "and my girlfriend and I...". They always find a way to wind it into the beginning of the conversation. Almost like they're looking for someone to put up a fight, maybe? It's only to point out that they aren't heterosexual, and I find that most heterosexual people don't really care because sexuality, at least in my eyes, is such a highly personal thing. I tend to be put off by those kinds of people, actually. On the other hand, I also know MANY queer women who aren't that way at all, and, to me, at least, they present as much more comfortable in their own skin and sexuality than the former does. Again, I hope that that isn't offensive. It really is just my honest experience.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Not really. I just really don't think about it. Lol, although, in Seattle, we have all kinds of queer neighbors, and the gal down the condo row was totally hitting on my very asexual mother! It made me a little bit uncomfortable, but I would have been equally as uncomfortable (probably moreso) if it had been a man hitting on her, so... She's one of the former types that I have a hard time with. We had just moved in, and the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm gay!"

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

Again, I don't think about people in regards to their orientation. I think about them as compassionate, kind, smart, girl scout, friend good-hearted, mean, unfriendly, cold, etc...but not in terms of queer or straight. I feel like that's someone's personal choice and who they have sex with or who they are attracted to has nothing to do with me.

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"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain

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bluejumprope
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Thanks for sharing, Beckylein [Smile]

I really appreciate your effort to be inclusive and respectful too. That's something I should have made a point about in my post for everyone to be extra aware of, so I'm glad you set the tone.

quote:
If this does come off as offensive, I really am sorry. Sometimes it seems like queer women present as though their sexual identity is a bigger and more important part of who they are than hetero women do. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the struggle for rights and recognition and everything else that, perhaps, deepens the sexual identity as an extremely important one. Maybe it's because, as a white, heterosexual female, I haven't had to face those discriminations or fight and struggle in the same way that many queer women have to, but I don't identify first through my sexuality.

...one of the first things out of their mouths after their name is, "and I'm gay!" or "and my girlfriend and I...". They always find a way to wind it into the beginning of the conversation. Almost like they're looking for someone to put up a fight, maybe? It's only to point out that they aren't heterosexual, and I find that most heterosexual people don't really care because sexuality, at least in my eyes, is such a highly personal thing. I tend to be put off by those kinds of people, actually.

I think this is the sort of thing where being queer you have a different perspective, and I think you hit on some of the reasons why. It's a rich issue and I'm not sure exactly where to start. I'll tell you the basics of what it's like for me, and if any other queer women have stuff to add, I'd be really interested.

First, coming out sucks. I've been doing it for over ten years now, and while it's certainly easier at 21 than 10, it's by no means effortless. It's awkward and scary and I'd love to never have to do it again. So, for me at least, coming out ASAP has a lot to do with getting it over with.

If I don't get it over with, a lot of times it can feel like an elephant in the living room. Sometimes it can feel like straight people are looking me over, trying to figure out my orientation and that's awkward for both of us. Sometimes a straight person will say something homophobic before they know you're queer, and then coming out is harder. Coming out quickly can be important because a lot of straight people just assume everyone else is straight.

It's sort of a double edged sword--I've heard straight people complain about gay people coming out too soon, but then if you wait til you've known someone two weeks and maybe for the first time they ask you (if you're a woman) if you have a boyfriend, and you say, "actually, I date girls," then sometimes they get angry that you were keeping a secret, or then they might accuse you of having a crush on them, etc. The longer you wait to come out, the more loaded it can be.

It also has to do with seeking allies. Homophobia is a really big, serious thing, so establishing that a straight person is an ally right off, can really let me relax more around them.

[ 02-18-2009, 10:34 AM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Heather
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(Just wanted to add that I think this is a fantastic topic! I'll say more when some more users do: one tries not to monopolize the conversation.)

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cool87
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I’m aware that I do have some bias when it comes to bisexual or lesbian women and I don't think it is wrong at all to admit them, I know that those are false assumptions. I don't think that anyone should judge me any differently based on them, we do all have biais and therefore having some does not make us any less of a person. And me having some biais towards queer women is in any way a form of disrespect towards them, I just want to make that clear. I don't want to make any queer women reading this uncomfortable.

In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

Generally not. I do know what their sexual orientation is but I don’t think this makes things any different between us.

Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

I’ve had some queer friends in the past and still have some but never really experienced tension linked to our different sexual orientation, no.

Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

I have this image that queer women are very empowered and strong, assertive, very confident women with high self-esteem. I’ve very biased because pretty much all of the queer women that I know have been like that but I’m aware that this might not be the case for all.

I’ve also thought for a while that queer girls were more caring and respectful towards other women than most of the heterosexual women were when this is not necessarily the case and simply some kind of stereotype.

Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
Nope, not at all and I’m comfortable being around them just as much as with heterosexual folks.

Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

Not really. I'm happy with my own sexual orientation, whatever it is.

[ 02-18-2009, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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September
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It's kind of interesting for me to think about this, as I feel I have sort of a unique position in this area. I identify as queer, but have been in a heterosexual relationship for nearly five years now. My friends and some of my family know I'm queer, and my high school friends have seen me date women, but just about everyone I've met in the last five years has experienced me as 'straight'.

Because of this, even with people I am out to, I am not necessarily perceived as queer, and I don't necessarily perceive a difference between myself and straight women.

One thing that I have to agree with bluejumprope on is the amazing sex idea. I had a conversation a couple of years ago with a gay man I met at work where we came to the conclusion that 'gay sex' is much better than 'straight sex', because it's more open, honest, communicative and creative. By this we did not mean sex between homosexuals vs sex between heterosexuals, but the idea of heterosexual sex as penis-in-vagina and nothing but vs oral sex, manual sex, and anything else you could possibly think of and feel like doing. It seems as though, being queer, you automatically spend some time thinking about the ways you can have sex that don't involve heteronormative stereotypes. You've got to be more creative than that by definition. And it's possible to have 'gay sex' in a heterosexual relationship, as well.

To which extent our little theory holds some truth, I can't say. But I do find myself thinking in terms of that a lot of the time.

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Beckylein
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Thanks bluejumprope [Smile] I do understand what you're saying, in regards to looking for allies and not knowing if people are homophobic, but I'm curious as to how you would view or answer the question I have that, for me, follows from your response.

I'm not sure how to ask the question I'm wondering, but I'll give it a shot [Smile] Again, I'm really trying hard not to unintentionally offend, so bear with me [Wink]

Do you think in assuming that everyone is homophobic (do you think that's a fair assessment?), in not trusting them enough to "handle" the information of your sexuality (sorry, I can't think of a better way to put that), that it kind of perpetuates homophobia? I totally understand feeling the need to protect yourself, but isn't it essentially assuming everyone is homophobic before they prove that they aren't? Feel free to put a different spin on it for me [Smile] I really am interested in seeing things from a different perspective!!


How will a homophobic ever learn not to be homophobic if they aren't confronted with homosexuals? If they are always given the chance to brand someone as homosexual, and therefore someone they, presumably, don't want to get to know before they even get to know them, how can that confrontation be possible? How can they think of a homosexual as an equal human being without being able to see them as a human being. I think putting a face on homosexuality is what changes a lot of people's minds much of the time. I had a very tight-knit group of friends in high school, for example. It was comprised of a good variety of people, but we were all in the honours classes. One boy was a VERY right-wing, fundamentalist Christian. He had very, very different views from the rest of us, but it was okay because we were so diverse anyways. He was SUPER homophobic. That is, he was homophobic until one girl from that group came out as bisexual and started dating another gal this last year. It's hard to unlearn what parts of society teach us, and I find that putting a personal spin on things tends to allow us to be okay with it.

I'm sure it's awful to hear homophobic remarks and to have people degrade your relationship or character based on some made-up stereotype or prejudice, but do you think it would be more effective (albeit more difficult and painful) to say, "Hey, you're talking about me, and that's offensive," rather than having them reject you because they already know that you identify as queer? It would, at least in theory, put a MUCH different spin on how they thought about other people's sexuality. It doesn't give them the opportunity to run away if you confront them with your sexuality immediately.

Am I even making sense? [Smile] Lol, I hope so! This is such a fascinating question to me as I've pondered on it a lot.

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"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain

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bluejumprope
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quote:
Do you think in assuming that everyone is homophobic (do you think that's a fair assessment?)
I've been thinking about my own answers to the questions I listed in my first post, and one of the things I've been thinking about are the distinctions I make between different "kinds" of straight women, and how I feel differently around them. For example, if I meet a woman in an Ani DiFranco t-shirt who is with her boyfriend, I feel basically as comfortable around her as a lesbian (I'm not saying I feel comfortable around all lesbians--that couldn't be further from the truth). You know what I mean? Or, if I meet a woman who looks sort of punk or granola or is politically-aware in a certain way, or who maybe just looks street-wise, or who grew up in a queer-friendly city, or, I don't know, I just have a sense through talking with her that she'd have queer friends, I don't tend to feel any anxiety. With straight women like that coming out tends to happen more organically because I think those sort of women are less likely to assume other people's orientations in the first place, are pretty chill around queer people, and are maybe a little bit queer themselves [Smile] . So, no, I don't think I assume everyone (or everyone I perceive or assume is straight) is homophobic. I do tend to assume that some people, like frat boys or conservative Christians, are homophobic.

quote:
but do you think it would be more effective (albeit more difficult and painful) to say, "Hey, you're talking about me, and that's offensive," rather than having them reject you because they already know that you identify as queer?
I get the logic of this, and agree about the transformative effect of personally knowing queer people, but there are a few ways it doesn't jive with me

The idea of playing mind-games with homo-hostile or homo-hesitant people just seems too complicated ("I'll get them to like me, then tell them I'm gay, and then their mind will be expanded"). It's also not a situation I personally run into much. The people I'm drawn to be friends with aren't homophobic. I'm trying to think if I've had any friends who were homophobic and I haven't really. There was one guy who I was acquainted with but not really friends with in middle school and he heard through a mutual friend that I was gay when I came out, and I later learned that he consciously didn't speak to me for the year after because it upset him. Then we became friends in early high school, so I guess in that case, I had an effect on his homophobia.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not very social, so people who have more casual friends probably have a different perspective. I tend to not have very much interest in maintaining relationships with people who don't have similar values as me, so creating a friendship with someone who is homophobic hasn't really come up.

I do think it's very powerful when people say, "Hey, you're talking about me," and there are many times I regret where I wish I'd had the strength to do that. That's only come up for me with strangers though, not people who really knew me at all prior.

quote:
It doesn't give them the opportunity to run away if you confront them with your sexuality immediately.
The idea of "confronting someone with your sexuality" is suspect to me because heterosexual people "flaunt" their heterosexuality all the time without thinking about it. That has to do with how heteronormative social behaviors are built into our culture and how heterosexuality is just assumed unless otherwise revealed. Coming out isn't the only way to reveal your orientation to someone. Like you mentioned earlier, people say things like "my girlfriend and I" or "my girlfriend thinks...". And queer women don't just say that to come out, they say it because sometimes it's the obvious thing to say. My partner is a big part of my life, so a lot of times having a long conversation with someone without her somehow popping up would be a little strange. If a straight woman said, "oh, my boyfriend loves blah blah blah too," would most people bat an eye?

quote:
Do you think in assuming that everyone is homophobic (do you think that's a fair assessment?), in not trusting them enough to "handle" the information of your sexuality (sorry, I can't think of a better way to put that), that it kind of perpetuates homophobia? I totally understand feeling the need to protect yourself, but isn't it essentially assuming everyone is homophobic before they prove that they aren't?
I know what you mean on one level, but I can't think very clearly about it right now. I need to go to bed [Smile] . Maybe I'll have an answer tomorrow, but I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts about this.

These are awesome questions you brought up [Smile]

[ 02-20-2009, 02:38 AM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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bluejumprope
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I thought about it some more.

It seems like you're maybe assuming that the major (or a major) impetus in coming out is creating social change, but that's not how it is for me at least. Usually coming out is just about average social interactions, or the process of getting to know someone better. I don't come out to people to change their minds about queer people. I come out, because if I don't, I feel like I'm lying.

There are many courageous, thoughtful people who feel moved to change homophobic people's minds, but I'm not one of them. I'd much rather have conversations like this than debate about whether or not I'm going to hell. Maybe that's complacent or cowardly, or taking advantage of the activism of others, but I also don't feel like the ways I am out are meaningless either.

What I think you're getting at is wondering how queer people, in their attitudes, hampered by their own issues, fears and resentments, don't tackle homophobia in the most effective way possible.

And all I can think to say to that is that I'm a human, not an educational tool. I have my own needs in coming out that have nothing to do with the other person (my comfort, my self-expression, my integrity).

The focus of my life isn't educating homophobic people, it's doing the things that feel most meaningful, appropriately self-protective and authentic for me. That may or may not include giving homophobic people the educational experience that will exactly resonate for them.

quote:
in not trusting them enough to "handle" the information of your sexuality (sorry, I can't think of a better way to put that), that it kind of perpetuates homophobia?
I'm not sure I totally addressed this or if I really understand it. I think that not coming out at all does perpetuate homophobia. But I think it's homophobia that's the real problem, not how queer people choose to engage or not engage with it.

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amelie poulain
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I love this topic. A new, but close, friend has been going through the process of exploring her queerness/coming out, and I think that that combined with my first Women's and Gender Studies course has really led me to engage with my sexuality in a way that, as a mostly-straight girl, I had never really had to deal with before. We've been referring to it as "queering heterosexuality", which has basically meant that I've been going through a lot of the same questioning that queer girls I know have to deal with.

It's ridiculous that heterosexuality is just so assumed, and that straightness is so possible with very little analysis at all. In that sense, I think that as much as queer people have to deal with a lot of flack for their choices, they're also in a better place to reject heteronormative behaviours that don't serve anyone, gay, straight or what-have-you. Having the power to practice unthinking sexuality isn't always a gift, you know? I guess that answers what I admire about queer women.

As for the questions...

In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

Not nearly as much these days. I like to think my awareness is usually more about making the effort to honour the experiences of my friends, and not assume anything at all about their sexuality. Plus, I think my friends and I just talk about sex a lot, so if lesbian sex is a part of someone's life, we're going to be discussing it.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

A little bit. I've noticed that among queer friends this can breed a bit of a suspicion that straight girls are oppressed/not out yet, which is hard to get around. I guess queer people have to deal with the idea that they're unnatural or confused, but either way sucks.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

That they hate men? Which usually isn't true, but sometimes there's an attitude that men aren't of equal worth, and that's kind of a downer, and not how I like to see feminism. I also tend to assume that queer women are smart, independent, and feminist.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Mainly being seen as gauche and overly heterosexual. I guess I'm just scared of getting judged. I think overall though, I'm pretty good with homosexuality. It's hard not to be homophobic when that is such a prevalent view in our society, and it's taken me a lot of work to deal with these internalized opinions. So worth it though, my queer friends are the best, and I love knowing that if I were to fall in love with a woman, that would be completely okay...no, actually it would be great. It's love, right?

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NonStraightAnswers
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quote:
In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?
With new acquaintances it's something that I'm aware of until I come out to them. After that point, it's mostly, as was said above, just something that is, not something of which I'm particularly aware. The main exception to that is when we're talking about heterosexism or homophobia, at which point I'm more aware of who's straight and who's queer.

quote:
Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?
I can think of one case where there has been tension, but the issue isn't that she doesn't share my orientation but rather that, while her personal behavior has never been in any way homophobic, she at one point (after we'd known each other a few years) shared that she thinks that it's best that children have two "opposite sex" parents and ever since then I've had a certain level of wariness with her. I'd certainly feel similarly if another lesbian said the same thing.

quote:
Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?
None of which I'm aware.

quote:
Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
If they're friends I figure they know better than to freak out thinking that I like them just because of my orientation, but sometimes I worry that their friends might do so.

quote:
Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?
I envy the privilege that straight women have to not have to worry about whether being themselves will have negative consequences due to other people's bigotry (obviously I'm assuming the comparison is between two women of the same ethnicity/class/religion/[insert other excuse for dehumanization here]). On a related note, I very much agree with what bluejumprope wrote about coming out.
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Alicia Hale
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Wow! When I saw this post I just knew I had to read, and maybe, put in my views as a lesbian in a stable relationship who was forced to live in the figurative closet for most of my life, to the extent of having more than one boyfriend. There are so many good posts already I am not even sure I can add much. I don't mean to offend anyone with anything I say, and if I do I apologize for it was not my intent.


-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

Of course I am aware of it. As a femme most girls don't realize that I could even be anything other than in a relationship with a man, causing me to hear way to much about their romantic lives lol. It is like that connection, that bond that we get with other people by having the same likes isn't there, almost making a truly close friendship impossible. That being said I wouldn't lose my girls, of any orientation, for anything.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

Sometimes yes, but it is often just because we have found ourselves opening cans of worms on either side of the fence without meaning to.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

No, like I said I have been there, and I know just how rough and involved it can be for them too.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Only one, and that is from a bad past experience that never should have happened that I won't bother sharing with you because it is one I doubt anyone else harbors, I just felt I should answer the question truthfully.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

Children. Is that an ok answer? I have always wanted children of my own, but I, and my wife, are both because of our past unable to bear children. All that leaves us in our minds is adoption, which can be very hard for a homosexual couple. Yes, we know that we can overcome any obstacle in our way, but it would be nice even to have that small advantage, that push in the right direction.


As to the coming out line of fire, I don't think I have ever introduced myself as gay, or even offered that information up unless asked or if I felt it was truly needed. I actually feel offended by those who do. To me it is a cry by the younger generation (no offense and none meant in anything in this post, please take everything with a grain of salt, and I will always listen to the other side of the story likewise) to feel the hurt of those who had to pave the way. It is like wearing a sign that asks to be punched then crying when a bruise shows up the next day. What right does someone just meeting you have in knowing about your personal, sexual even, life? That being said I would feel the same if a heterosexual person shook my hand and said 'HI! I'm Bob, and I'm straight.' To me you can't ask for a stigma, a label and then complain when it is given to you.

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NonStraightAnswers
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quote:
Originally posted by Alicia Hale:
As to the coming out line of fire, I don't think I have ever introduced myself as gay, or even offered that information up unless asked or if I felt it was truly needed. I actually feel offended by those who do. To me it is a cry by the younger generation (no offense and none meant in anything in this post, please take everything with a grain of salt, and I will always listen to the other side of the story likewise) to feel the hurt of those who had to pave the way. It is like wearing a sign that asks to be punched then crying when a bruise shows up the next day. What right does someone just meeting you have in knowing about your personal, sexual even, life? That being said I would feel the same if a heterosexual person shook my hand and said 'HI! I'm Bob, and I'm straight.' To me you can't ask for a stigma, a label and then complain when it is given to you.

The way I see it, some people will stigmatize GLB folks, period. Better to know who those people are sooner than later. Coming out is a way of knowing who to avoid in the future. It's also a way to counter the common assumption that people are straight-until-proven-otherwise. There are definitely a few people to whom I came out when they asked, "So, do you have a boyfriend?", which is a pretty common question of (heterosexist) chit-chat. (Again, the way I see it,) the point of social relationships (and, based on the previous example, I'm including co-workers who chose to have a certain level of friendliness) is to get to know about each others personal lives, and that often includes romantic lives.

[ 02-26-2009, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: NonStraightAnswers ]

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fallchild
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This is a great topic, bluejumprope. I've been mulling some stuff over in my head for the last few days and just thought I would finally jump in.

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

It's really not a big deal. I tend to gravitate toward people who are either queer or an ally of queer people, so my sexual orientation or the other person's sexual orientation just isn't an issue.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

I've only experienced tension with people when they are *acquaintences* (spelling?), not friends. Generally, if I feel like there is some sort of tension in the air and that it has to do with my orientation, that person doesn't progress any further with me.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

Again, no. I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate. By now, I've realized that you can never judge a proverbial book by it's cover, especially a cover of sexual orientation. There are multiple shades of gray.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

None at all, really.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

Anytime that I envy or admire something about a woman, it's rarely just because of their sexual orientation. Maybe it's how comfortable they are with whatever sexual orientation they have. Maybe they're strong about standing up for what they believe in. Maybe they just have a confidence about them that is incredibly sexy. But those are all things that ALL women can have, queer or straight.

I want to put in my two cents about what Alicia Hale said. When I come out it's not for a political statement, to play myself as some sort of victim, or anything like that. If straight people are going to ask me questions like, "So have you been seeing any cool guys lately?" or, "What kinds of things do you look for in a guy," or even, "What are you doing tonight?" they're going to find out I'm gay and I'm not going to tiptoe around it. I'm just not. I'm not going to be afraid to say, "I'm hanging out with my girlfriend tonight," or "I don't date guys," etc.

I encounter heterosexism all the time, and honestly, I really don't see any difference in bringing up one's girlfriend when everyone else in the room is talking about their boyfriends. Part of social interaction, what nonstraightanswers brought up, is getting to know people and how they relate to the world and a big part of that is their romantic lives. I have lived in the closet too long to feel like I have to tiptoe around my life for the comfort level of other people, and that goes for queer OR straight people.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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bluejumprope
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I've really enjoyed reading these posts [Smile]


quote:
As to the coming out line of fire, I don't think I have ever introduced myself as gay, or even offered that information up unless asked or if I felt it was truly needed. I actually feel offended by those who do. To me it is a cry by the younger generation (no offense and none meant in anything in this post, please take everything with a grain of salt, and I will always listen to the other side of the story likewise) to feel the hurt of those who had to pave the way.
That hasn't really been my experience at all. I think people my age are hurt plenty on their own and aren't out looking for ways to experience greater hostility. I'm certainly not. I think queer people in my generation--given how older generations have paved the way--in general have greater community support, easier access to queer resources and more self-acceptance--positive things that would lead one to feel more comfortable and entitled to not hide their orientation.

quote:
It is like wearing a sign that asks to be punched then crying when a bruise shows up the next day.
quote:
To me you can't ask for a stigma, a label and then complain when it is given to you.
That makes me a little sad. Like, really? That's not the world I want to live in. Being gay shouldn't have any stigma attached to it. No one should have to fear violence. Queer people aren't asking for a stigma, they're just being themselves. It's society that says it's a stigma, for completely ridiculous reasons. Being out does not give anyone the license to hurt me. If they do, that's seriously screwed up on their end.


I wanted to respond to two things in Amelie's post too.

On the subject of "man-hating" I had one thought. I think for me, my occasional dismissive feelings or remarks about men as a group have a lot to do with my fear of them--fear of assault, physical intimidation, not having my personal space respected. In alignment with that, I just read in Full Frontal Feminism (a book totally worth checking out) that queer women are more likely to be attacked by men than straight women.

quote:
-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Mainly being seen as gauche and overly heterosexual. I guess I'm just scared of getting judged.

That's very similar to my anxiety around heterosexual women too. I worry about looking too stereotypically dykey or looking like I'm "overly identified with being gay." I basically just wear mens' jeans and t-shirts and have short, usually messy hair, and around more trendy femme heterosexual women, I can just sort of feel like I'm being judged for not being more dolled up and that how I look is "inappropriate."

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Jill2000Plus
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I just read the reviews for Full Frontal Feminism, I am soo angry right now.

I'm not really that aware of someone's sexual orientation in my interactions with them, mostly, it only tends to matter if they are acting in a very heteronormative way, like this one woman I knew who always talked about trying out positions in porn with their boyfriend ("it teaches you things"... I'd heard of everything they mentioned through other sources, and if you're going to argue about access to media, then I would argue that public libraries that are more likely to stock general lovers guides and so forth than porn, and if you have access to the internet you'll be more likely to have access to scarleteen than porn) and would say how women had to go through pain to get pleasure or become nuns, I don't think they ever considered that some women didn't like being penetrated, and that nobody had an obligation to be penetrated, they would talk about how they were going to teach their kids "if you're going to be a slut use a condom", and generally were full of bull. It was insufferable trying to talk to them because I knew they would just tell me "you don't know anything because you're a virgin." In fairness, someone can be heteronormative and homosexual, but they did get to me, though it wasn't because they were straight and saying those things.

I do get self concious when I'm around anyone who's dressed femme, but that's also to do with having aspergers syndrome as well as being bi, and just generally to do with not being femme, even when I hadn't realised I was pansexual yet, I didn't like to dress in "girly" clothes, I've always liked tracksuit bottoms, jeans, dungarees, trainers, T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, cardigans. In fact, I'm painfully aware that others will, perhaps be thinking "ZOMG a special needs nerdy dyke" or some crap like that, when they see me, and not that I think they're justified, but them thinking that way does P me off. My dad's partner always used to tell me that I was making myself a target for bullies by dressing the way I did, that it was very special needs, though the basic point was that I didn't dress femme, normal is about gender, so dressing gender ambiguous is blamed on special needs if you have them. But all that isn't really about straight and gay. I did get a bit frustrated trying to discuss being bi with my dad's partner, like when heteronormative stuff was part of their religion (which doesn't excuse it), but I have known a lot of straight women who didn't say anything to make me feel awkward at all. It's not somebody being straight that causes these problems, but their words and actions.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Bragorien
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-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?
I don't have a problem with any of my friends' sexualities. I am the "gay one", even though I am actually bissexual. I am the only one out of my close friends with any dating experience - let alone dating girls. All of my close friends were very supportive of my sexuality when I decided to come out, none of them have judged me. Which is somethin I cannot say for the rest of the school, who judged me.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?
As per your post, they say lesbians are super-empowered and have the best sex. I doubt this is true, as come on, just because you are of the same sex does not mean that every time will be wonderful!
Biases on straight women? Well, I used to think that each and every straight girl will dislike, judge or be afraid of me because I am bisexual. THen I realised that for every judgemental one, tehre is someone who is accepting and kind. Right up to one of the teachers in my school, who I wil always hold dear for sticking up for me when I was being bullied to the point of tears.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
I only get a little edgy if left alone in a room with a lot of very homophobic young ladies or men frommy school. I know I could probably verbally and physically fight my way out of tehre, but I don't actually like violence. I just do not understand how people can be so judgemental, and not accept me for who I am.
I am not afraid of queer ladies. Why should I be? I know - unlike my peers - that just because you fancy girls doesn't mean you fancy EVERY girl. [Big Grin]

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?
I admire people who can be proud of who they are despite all the bullying taht often comes with admitting you are gay or bisexual. Even I sometimes freeze up and get scared when put on the spot about my sexuality. If it makes any sense: I am ashamed to be sometimes ashamed of who I am.

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"I made a resolution: Dance, like nobody's watching. Which I do... with the curtains closed - in case anybody's watching!"

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goodmagpie
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I have loved reading these so much! It's really funny, because I've never experianced tension with LGBT friends, or judged them, or feared them, or envied them and then reading these made me think more about something that never occurred to me as being a barrier between me and friends. I've been in a straight relationship for two years now, but since I've been in love with a girl before and find some girls attractive I wouldn't necessarily call myself straight, but nor would I call myself bi...

The only thing that has really struck me in this is that if I were in a situation where I was the only non-gay girl in the room I might feel a bit... maybe guilty for not having to have put up with any heterosexist/ homophobic crap. Or that as a (for the sake of argument) straight girl I have less of a right to care about LGBT rights as LGBT people and people might resent me for that.

Plus, on the whole introducing yourself with 'Hi I'm Bob and I'm gay' thing, if relationships come up in conversation in a group with people I don't know, I ask them 'So do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?' rather than just girlfriend so they can say if they want to.

Do people find 'queer' an offensive term? I have heard some people say they do, but as it's been used in this thread, I figured not.

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bluejumprope
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That's really cool about asking new people if they have a bf or gf.

Some people do find queer offensive, but many people don't. I think there's some generational difference about that (in my experience, people over 50 today are more likely to dislike it, maybe because of how the word was used during their youth), but that's also just a generalization. Most people I know like it, and I think it's okay to use unless someone tells you it makes them uncomfortable (you can always ask, too).

If you want to read some more about the word, check out:
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/16/t/001100.html#000000
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer

Personally, I've never resented any straight people in the way you described. It just makes me super happy to know that they're allies and care about LGBT rights.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Mint_Imperials_88
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I JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT I LOOOOOOVVVEEEE WOMAN!!
AND I LOOOVVVEEE BEING GAY!!! tehe [Razz] [Razz]

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Peach7262
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I think this is a very interesting topic, because most of my best friends are either lesbian or bisexual, and I am the odd woman out being straight [Smile] It's interesting to be the minority as a straight person, but definitely not bad at all. I have straight girlfriends too, but I often hang out in a group with women who like women.

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

My girlfriends and I talk often about sex and orientation, and its something we are all extremely aware of. But that's absolutely not a bad thing. I don't think we define ourselves by it, we are just extremely comfortable with it and I'm proud to say that about all my friends.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

Never. My friends and I are extremely open with one another, and we respect and accept each others' sexual orientations. There's normally someone who will relate to me since I have a few friends who are bisexual.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

Honestly, not really that I'm aware of.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Once again, my friends and I are extremely close with one another, all orientations included. I do feel as though I can talk more about sexual experiences with women who have a similar sexual preference as me, but that's obvious and I think most people would agree with that.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

I feel like all of my girlfriends have come to terms with their own orientations this year, including myself. No, one doesn't need to 'come out' as being straight, but within my group of friends I've truly confirmed my straightness through experience and discussion with them. I feel like we all have a true grip on our orientation, and I admire that they helped me find mine just as they had to find theirs. One of my best friends came out as a lesbian this year, and I truly admire her in all that she's dealt with in the process. But I think that they have all helped ME become truly comfortable with my sexuality while I hope I've done the same for them [Smile]

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piratendame
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I have a lot of straight-identified friends with whom I feel no discomfort or awkwardness because sexuality is something we discuss on occasion and are comfortable with - there are no assumptions because we know everything we are comfortable telling each other.

I also don't have any problems connecting to straight women in conversations where sexuality isn't alluded to.

I do, however, occasionally feel uncomfortable around women who bring up their boyfriends or talk about their sex lives in a way which makes me feel like I don't fit in or can't add to the conversation. This only happens because those people assume I am straight, which happens a LOT. The same conversation could be had inclusively with a few changed words but I find often the assumptions made lead to me feeling rather left out and unable to contribute. If the women would ask or even from the start formulate their questions or statements differently I wouldn't feel the need to butt in and say, "oh excuse me, by the way - my name is Lena and I'm gay" and then have them feel awkward or annoyed that that was even an issue that needed bringing up.

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AnonymousChick88
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Well, when I realized that I liked girls too (which was very VERY recent) i started to feel a little weird around some of my friends, or other girls in the class. I felt like they could read my mind or something. Like the fact that I liked girls was written on the top of my forehead. And then I would feel akward talking to them, because sometimes I would get lost in my own little world for a while, and I'd find my eyes...eh...wandering. Then I'd catch myself and be all like, "Oh my gosh, did she notice that?!?"

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"Life is a parade of fools. And I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." -Brother Odd

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Karybu
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(AnonymousChick88, I know how you feel. I went through a period of figuring out/coming to terms with my sexuality for several months last year, and at times I felt like I had the words "I'm not straight!" written all over me.)

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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graffitionyourbody
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Ah...straight girls. Good as friends, horrible when you start to get interested in more. Still, I have a lot of straight girl friends. It's an interesting relationship- a lot of the time I end up giving guy advice. And when I want to talk about girls, I turn to one of my straight guy friends. It's a perfect chain really. Except when the girls start getting graphic...I don't want to hear about his a) abs, b) crotchular area, or c) ***. I really don't.
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Kath
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I'm a straight girl. I can say right now that my sexual relationship with my boyfriend is almost always consensual. The only time I would say it wasn't completely consensual was our first time when I felt like I was unable to voice what I was feeling (despite him asking and encouraging), but I expect it would have been very similar if it had been with a girl. Sometimes I don't always feel like being sexual before he initiates it (for example taking off clothes), but at those times I use body language to take everything slowly, and I always enjoy it all, and get turned on. I feel very empowered and I feel like I know my body and sexual responses quite well (although I'm learning all the time).

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?
I am aware of it, but not in a way that's detrimental to our relationship. I'm aware of how sexy women are, but I'm not turned on by it (usually), so that's the main difference in my opinion.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?
Only once. I pointed out a hot guy to her, forgetting that she wouldn't be able to see him in the same way I was. It wasn't really tense, just awkward, although I think that has more to do with her personality than her orientation - she's definitely a girl's girl, guys are irrelevant.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?
I don't really have any stereotypes about bi or lesbian women anymore. All the ones I've had have been challenged and gotten rid of through having lesbian friends. A couple that I did have in the past though, are ones like the notion that sex would be dramatically different in a lesbian relationship compared to hetero relationships (it's not different at all so far as I can tell); that lesbian relationships would be less complicated to hetero ones (they're just as, if not more); and there is the one that many people have (which is totally misguided) that there is a 'more masculine' and 'more feminine' girl in every lesbian relationship. That last one is just plainly completely wrong, it took about 30 seconds of thinking about it to dispel it from my brain haha.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
Only that they may be attracted to me, thus making our relationship complicated. I have the same fear around straight guys.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?
Not really. Maybe they don't need to work as hard at communicating as hetero couples do, but I wouldn't think that'd be the same across the board. I'm very happy and satisfied with my relationship at the moment, so I don't envy other people or their relationships much.

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rabiteen
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As a straight girl in favour of equality within sexualities, I just wanna give me two cents here and answer the original questions.

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

Ok, so I can't comment on sexual relationships, but in temrs of friendships I'm only aware of it when we're specifically talking about sex and they go into graphic detail about their sex with other women - other than that there is no difference between us; we're both women and we connect on an emotional level which goes beyond our sexuality.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

No. Actually I've found gay/bi women more understanding than men. They are very understanding and accepting of my sexuality. It's only men who have ever tried to persude me that I need to 'try' it, etc. Women understand that being straight is still a sexuality and not my default setting!

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

No.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Not at all. No woman has ever been disrespectful to my heterosexuality.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

My best friend is bi (oh that sounds like such a cliche! - "I'm not a homophobe, my best firend's gay"), and I have always looked up to her. It's mostly to do with her personality, but in terms of sexuality, I admire her views as well. She's opened my eyes to a lot of things and has been very understanding about many of my own sexual persuasions. She's the least judgemental person I know. It amy be down to her own sexual experiences or just the way she is, but I tihnk her bisexuality and her relaxed attitude towards sex is a possible contributer to this.

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Devanie
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Here's my answers...I'm hetero sexual, but I was bi-curious for a while and identified as asexual for the majority of my high school years...

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?
Sometimes. People will tell me or it will come up in conversations.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?
Not since I was a lot younger. When I was younger, it was a little unnerving, because I'd never met someone who was lesbian or Bi... Or, at least, no one who was openly. And then I met a friend of a friend who was openly bi, and she talked a little about her sexuality, and it was all cool from that point onward. I still felt a little awkward when friends came out, but it got better and now it's just a, "Oh. Awesome."

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?
Once again, when I was younger I had a bit of bias. But I guess I outgrew them as I actually met people who were homosexual/bisexual

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
I sometimes worry, if I don't know them well, that I'm coming off as discriminating. But I feel this way with most groups who are the subject of discrimination that I personally don't belong to. =/

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?
No... Not really. When I was younger I was envious that they didn't have to deal with male partners... But not so much anymore.

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Kawani3792
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Hello! I saw this post and thought I'd look around and reply...

**-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?**
Well, of course I'm aware when a friend is talking about her boyfriend and going on a date with John Doe versus her talking about a girlfriend and going on a date with Jane Doe. It's not something I 'just know', though.


**-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?**
I haven't been able to come out to my straight friends yet, so there is some tension, for example a woman I know was talking with me recently about a mutual friend who had just come out and she said "It's ok for her, I suppose, but I wouldn't be comfortable with that. And if she comes out here with her girlfriend, I kinda hope they don't kiss or anything in front of me, it's sort of weird." So yeah, definite tension there.

**-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?**
Not that I'm aware of having.

**-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?**
Aside from worrying about possible reactions, no.

**-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?**
not really.

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Sunshine1893
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Thought I'd contribute my point of view [Smile]

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

Yes. I'm lesbian/queer-identified, and most of my female straight friends change their behavior when I talk about my relationships, or even just people I think are attractive. This has been changing recently, because now most of my friends are queer guys, but generally, straight women seem to act like I'm changing the subject of conversation to sexual orientation, even if all I'm talking about is a person/relationship/attraction that happens to be queer. This doesn't apply to ALL my straight female friends, but sadly it applies to most of them.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

Yes, see above. I wish it wasn't like that, and I really try to have comfortable friendships with straight women, but they make it difficult. The exception is straight trans women, who generally are totally comfortable with it.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

I'm not sure. In the past, there have been one or two times where I caught myself having negative thoughts about bisexual women, along the lines of resenting them for being "lucky" enough to be able to date men. I also tend to resign myself to the idea that straight women don't want to be close friends with me, which I'm sure is often inaccurate and has probably lost me the opportunity to make some great friends.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

For straight women: only that they'll act the way I described before - uncomfortable, etc. For bisexual women, none. I know a lot of lesbians are prejudiced against bisexual women, especially as partners, but I think that's ridiculous. It makes much less sense to me that I discriminate by gender in my attractions; bisexuality/pansexuality seems much more reasonable, and I often wish I was bisexual.

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

I envy women who like men, especially women who are straight, because they have a much greater statistical likelihood of the object of their affections being attracted to women. I also envy bisexual and pansexual people because I feel like it would be easier if my attractions didn't discriminate - I know a lot of wonderful guys who I just wish I could be attracted to.

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Aetherist
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I'm new here, and this seems as good a place to introduce myself as any. :-)

-In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

I will be aware of it, in that I am careful not to make assumptions about gender/sexual identity, but other than that it doesn't alter the conversation all that much.

-Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

Not at all. Maybe if I had attempted friendships with queer gals when I was in my teens there would have been more, but the truth is that I met all of my queer friends in my twenties.

-Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

Before I knew any lesbian/bisexual/gender-queer women, I think I thought I knew what they looked like and how they acted. Now, I've had those preconceptions shattered so many times I couldn't hold onto them even if I wanted to.

-Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

Nope. :-)

-Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

Does it count that sometimes I wish I was less straight? Mostly because I've known a number of women I admired who were interested in me, but I couldn't return the favor.

Not terribly deep, but it's an intro post, nonetheless. :-D

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Ariskola
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-Yeah, I'm aware, she told me when she and her gf first got together.
-Of course not. Why should it matter? When she told me, it was just a casual thing, like 'oh, ok, cool'
-Nope. I know what the stereotypes ARE, but I don't hold them myself.
-None at all. I think it's really cool actually, because it's something different and interesting
-I admire everyone who has come out, because it takes a ton of inner strength and courage

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OrchidGnome
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I am bisexual, and a bisexual and a lesbian friend of mine were talking about what we dubbed "Locker Room Shun Syndrome". When we came out as not being straight in our schools, PE classes became a sudden issue. Girls would whisper at each other if we turned around. They moved farther from the place where we dressed and refused to talk to us until we had left the locker room. For me this was always one of the worst times for orientation tension, because everyone made assumptions about what I was thinking.
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skiesofgreen
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As a straight women I find this thread very enlightening, it's especially made me realise that I DO often go into situations with an assumption that people are straight, even though I obviously know that might not be the case. Something to work on for sure.


In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?

To be honest I don't know many (openly at least) gay or bi women. The vast majority of my gay friends are male, which I think just happens to be a situational coincidence. My closest and oldest female friend does, however, identify as bi and I can only say I am aware of it as so far as I was one of the people she talked to when she was realising this. I can't say it's something I'm actively aware when around her.

Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?

As I mentioned I'm not friends with many women of different sexual orientation so my field of response is limited here. I do know that with the friend I mentioned before this has never been a matter of tension or unease, and not something that I see as any different from the fact she has curly hair.

Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?

I definitely had biases about gay and bi people as a teenager, mainly because I grew up in a fairly conservative Christian home. One being that a gay relationships would be somehow less full filling than straight ones or that sex between two women was not really sex. I don't in any way harbour these views anymore though and can't say that I'm aware of currently having any biases or stereotypes towards women of other sexual orientations.

Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?

In practice not at all. In theory though I've felt intimidated by sort of the opposite thing I hear some of you talking about here, that being that I sometimes fear that when talking to someone who presents themselves as more stereotypically gay I will be judge for being too feminine or straight.

Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?

The things I admire about my gay and bi friends has never been related to their sexuality, but rather to their personal strength, or kindness, or attributes that I would envy anyone for having.

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AponiKanti
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So this topic is a tad old, but so far I'm loving it! I figured I'd add to the convo too. I've recently changed my orientation to bisexual, like, within the last four months or so. It's been on my mind for almost a year after a shockingly graphic dream i had about a friend. She is straight and found it highly amusing. I do have a boyfriend, we've been dating for two years (official anniversary is September 5th ^_^) and have identified as straight for a while, mainly because I never really gave much thought to my sexuality because until high school I was largely asexual and had little interest in dating. I have a plethora of non-straight friends, of my main group who I consider my best friends who I tell everything to (it's about seven people, not including my boyfriend or sister) four of them are not straight. One is outright gay (he's a guy) and the other three are bi/pansexual girls. I also know several other people, guys and girls, who aren't straight. So to answer the questions

In relationships with women with a different sexual orientation than you, is it something you're aware of? How?
Yes I'm aware of it, but I don't and never have given a crap. It's merely a topic that gets occasionally brought up. My group is extremely open with each other and incredibly accepting. Let me say this to prove a point, I identify as a Christian and one of my best friends not only had an extremely unpleasant run in with Christians when she was young, but is Wiccan and we have very enlightening conversations on religion all the time. I have defended her from an attack by one of our teachers concerning her religion and how Christians are supposed to behave regardless of it. Sex and politics is openly and frequently discussed, to the point where interesting techniques and porn are critiqued, tips are asked for and traded (for instance, me asking my gay guy friend on how to be better at fellatio, or my encouraging my friend to relax more during sex with her boyfriend and give reverse missionary a chance) and jokes about being each others lesbian lovers and pimps abound. We don't do it in a derogatory fashion btw, but for us it's fun and not the least bit insulting or problematic for us all to be together.

Have you experienced tension being friends with women who don't share your orientation?
nope, not in the least. I came out to my friends and they were like, "ok whatev, btw I'm bi, I'm straight, etc." Like I said before I have plenty of non-straight friends and love them.

Are there any biases or stereotypes you're aware of having about women with a different orientation than you?
not that i'm aware of, though I've heard plenty. I once had a discussion with someone who believed bi people were greedy. I believe it was at least partly said in jest, but still.

Are there fears you have about being around women with a different sexual orientation?
Nah, I have more issues with being around straight guys who I don't know or don't trust. It's a personal space and safety issue, and i often demand that my boyfriend not leave me alone for extended amounts of time with guys I don't know.

Are there things you admire or envy about women with a different sexual orientation that you think is related to their orientation?
If I do I've never realized it. I've had non-hetero friends since I started high school and a good portion of them were out already. Though the ones in my group of best friends weren't out until last year or the year before (and truthfully only to each other). I've lived most of my life considering myself straight because I never really thought about the other things I like and that certain preferences in things like porn and what I admire about other women could point to something different.

I've yet to experience any issues with coming out because I have a boyfriend and have only pursued two other boys before my boyfriend. I've only had two boyfriends in my whole life (I'm almost 20) and the adults in my life approved of that (they approved of my initial asexuality in general, and it's implied they wish I would go back.) Since my claiming of my bisexuality is recent and I have no interest in seeking another partner, male or female, I don't think it will matter outside of my friends. I certainly have no interest in coming out to my mother, there really is no point to that considering the hassle she's given (and still gives) about my sexuality with my boyfriend. That will just cause a whole lot of annoying questions that will more likely be aimed at trying to get me to change my mind or whatever. I can't read her mind, especially because her reactions tend to be incredibly unpredictable. So, I shall keep it to myself since I plan and hope on being with my boyfriend forever anyway.

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