Tell It Like A Lesbian

Dear Tell It, I have only ever lived in the U.S. I just accepted a position with an international company that will require me to move to a non-English speaking country. I speak three languages so the language won’t be a problem, but what I’m most nervous about is the dating game. I try to be aware of LGBT people’s pronouns when I meet them, but how do I know how to ask someone politely how they identify? What if this country doesn’t have a gender-neutral pronoun that I can use for myself? — Nervous in New York

Dear Nervous, Not knowing to which country you’ll be relocating, I can’t say whether there is a specific etiquette for that conversation. For your own pronouns, I would bet that even if there isn’t an equivalent form of “they/them,” the language will have an alternative to suit your identity’s needs. The best that you can do from the start is research the gender climate of that country as thoroughly as possible, and keep in mind that as long as you ask politely and with an open mind to learning the country’s customs, there is likely not a specifically “right” way of doing it.

Dear Lesbian, I’ve been married to my wife for 2 years. Before that, she was married to a man for 5 years, and they divorced once she realized she was attracted to women. The divorce was largely amicable, although they didn’t keep in contact much the first year after it was finalized. Lately, though, her ex-husband has been coming around for dinner and drinks and while I want to respect my wife’s wishes and welcome him, he often makes lesbian jokes that make me visibly uncomfortable. I know that he sees my discomfort but continues to make jokes whenever my wife leaves the room. What should I do? — Uncomfortable

Dear Uncomfortable, It sounds to me like this ex-husband is feeling some resentment towards your relationship with your wife. If you haven’t already, tell him firmly that his jokes can’t continue if he wishes to remain welcome in your home. If that doesn’t work, your wife should be made aware of how he’s been behaving behind her back, and allow her to handle the situation. The divorce may have been amicable, but his behavior indicates a new issue between the two of them.

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Originally published at TravelPRIDE.

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