Is your boyfriend gay

Queer knows that (39) : Are you allowed to ask whether someone is a lesbian or gay?

Are you actually allowed to ask someone whether he or she is a lesbian or gay? Or is that tactless? - Antje, Wilmersdorf

The question reminds me of a conversation with a friend. She said she was moving in with a friend, "my friend," as she said. I thought that was a good moment to inquire whether the friend actually meant her life partner. She reacted disturbed, downright shocked: How do I get the idea that she was a lesbian ?!

Shouldn't I have asked? Certainly one shouldn't pester complete strangers about their sexual orientation. Basically, you always go well with the strategy of only asking other questions that you would answer yourself.

But if you know each other better, the question is not at all tactless. Just as homosexuality is not taboo these days, just as it should not be taboo to inquire about it. The problem in this case was the attitude of my friends. Would she have been horrified if I had asked about her boyfriend? Hardly likely. Rather, she signaled that it bothers her to be mistaken for a lesbian.

Questionable: "Totally embarrassing, he might think he was dumb"

Straight men seem to have similar fears, if one can trust online forums in which the question of asking is discussed. "Totally embarrassing, the questioned person might think he is dead," reads for example. The acceptance of homosexuality is not far off.

And how is it with us homos? We have to keep thinking about when and how we should mention our lesbian or gay life, for example when we change jobs or make new friends. In this respect, there are always coming-out situations. In the course of time, you have to put together conversation strategies and you know how much you want to reveal about yourself. So, as a rule, lesbians and gays should be prepared for this question. Some are open, some less. If someone evades, you should of course respect that.

Sexual orientation is rarely addressed directly

In my experience, however, sexual orientation is rarely addressed directly. In any case, it is much easier if you have the opportunity to broach the topic yourself in conversations. This is all the easier if others don't automatically assume that everyone in a round is straight. Anyone who mentions lesbian and gay friends, for example, signals their acceptance of different identities.

Oh yes, if you yourself are asked whether you are homosexual: "No, but I'm glad you think I'm open." That would be a confident, charming answer.

Episode 38: What do gays find in singers like Marianne Rosenberg?

Episode 37: Should gay celebrities get involved in politics?

Episode 36: Do you sometimes fall in love with straight people?

Episode 35: Do Homosexuals Use Drugs More Often?

Episode 34: What does Trump's victory mean for queer people?

Episode 33: Do you have party heterosexuality?

Episode 32: When did you notice your homosexuality?

Episode 31: Doesn't Berlin have a lesbian bar?

Episode 30: What is it like to come here as a gay refugee?

This text first appeared in the printed Saturday supplementMore Berlin.

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