On Microagressions: Did You Ever Think You Were a Lesbian Like Your Mom?
Did you ever think you were a lesbian like your mom?
Starting in high school, I’ve been asked variations on this question my whole life — mostly by men. I do understand people’s natural curiosity, but there are so many problems with this question that I have to write a whole post about it.
Any adult asking a teenager about their sexuality is creepy, but I’ll break it down further.
Did you ever think (maybe, in bed at night, one hand under the covers)
You were a lesbian(all that hot girl-on-girl porn on the internet)
Like your MOM?(I can’t even come up with a parenthetic aside for this.)
One of the most powerful movies I ever saw in high school was set in a society where everyone was homosexual except for “breeders” and “breeder babies.” Flipping the dominant culture makes it easy to see how things might feel to members of the actual minority. A fast way to check if something is creepy or inappropriate is to see how the question would feel if someone asked it of a kid with heterosexual parents:
Do you ever think about kissing or having sex with a man just like your mother does with your father?
Teenagers in general have complicated relationships with their parents. The idea that they are preordained to follow in their parents’ shoes gets their dander up. Sure, we ask children of doctors if they want to be doctors, but we generally don’t ask children of housekeepers if they plan on going into domestic service. The problem with this question is that it is asked by people who are most likely not equating LGBTQIA community with people they hold in high esteem.
Let’s talk a little further about people who feel the need to ask teenagers questions about their parents’ sexuality in general. They are unlikely to have close friends or family members who are queer. Scratch that — statistically they mostly likely do have friends or family members who are queer, but haven’t come out to them. Maybe that person didn’t think the questioner was safe to come out to. Or maybe they did have a cousin/friend who was gay and they didn’t ask them their questions because they didn’t want to insult their friend/cousin. If that’s the case, why is it OK to ask a teenager?
This feeds into the assumption that being heterosexual is preferred. This turns into pressure on the child. Many homophobic people fear that queer parents will produce queer children, ergo, the child’s sexuality is a reflection on not just the parents, but the perceived legitimacy of all queer families. If you say no, of course not, you are only always very 100% heterosexual, you are reassuring them that the queers didn’t take down another straight kid, which itself feels like a betrayal of your family.