I’m a woman, and I’m engaged to be married to a woman. Walking down the street, people stare at us if we are holding hands. They question how we know each other. They say things to us that they would never consider saying to a straight couple. We are singled out because we are “different.” It’s weird though, because we don’t feel different. We don’t think of ourselves as a “lesbian couple.” We think of ourselves as a “couple”—a couple who is madly in love and who doesn’t want to hide that love in order to make other people feel more comfortable. People have their own idea of what a lesbian relationship looks like, and if someone doesn’t fit that bill, then it’s really hard for people to understand. And not understanding, apparently, opens the door for a line of questioning.
These are some of the real-life questions my fiancé and I get on a daily basis, along with my responses:
1. Which one of you is the guy in the relationship?
Neither. We are both girls. That’s kind of the point.
2. You look like sisters!
Well, we’re not. I’m almost positive that a man and a woman who are dating (or married) don’t get told they look like siblings. In fact, that’s probably the last thing anyone wants to hear about the person they’re sleeping with.
3. Have you always been a lesbian?
I was straight until I wasn’t. Have you always liked mustard? You didn’t until you did, right? Sexuality isn’t always one way or the other.
4. I’ve never been to a gay wedding, can I come?
There will be cake, dancing and that one relative who gets too drunk. It’s pretty similar to a non-gay wedding. Actually, it’s exactly the same. So, let’s just call it “wedding” and leave out the “gay.” And sure, you can come if you’re invited.
5. Do all lesbians dress like their partners?
If we dress alike, it’s because we have the same style. And we share clothes, because why wouldn’t we? If you could share clothes with your husband, I’m sure you would.
6. Why do some lesbians dress like boys?
What people wear is a form of expression. It’s no different from straight women wearing dresses.
7. Wait, so how does sex work?
That’s a weird question to ask someone. Use your imagination or Google it.
8. (From an ex boyfriend) Oh, so THAT’S why we didn’t work out?
Wrong. We didn’t work out because we weren’t right for each other. Me being with a woman in no way validates you cheating on me or us not working out.
9. (From an ex boyfriend) Can I join?
Can you join what? Our deeply emotional, fully satisfying-on-all-levels relationship? Or our bedroom? No and no.
10. I’ve always wanted to be a lesbian, but I just can’t give up sex with men, you know?
Ok. Good talk.
11. Have you ever had real sex?
Sorry, explain to me what your definition of “real sex” is.
12. Did you choose to be a lesbian?
Did you choose to be a straight? I chose to be with the person I’m with. We all choose our partners.
13. Are you sure you won’t want to be with a man again?
If you are in a committed relationship, hopefully the only person you imagine yourself being with is that person. You wouldn’t ask a married straight woman whether she would ever want to be with another man again, would you?
14. Will you use a sperm donor or someone you know to get pregnant?
We will discuss that and keep you posted.
15. Are you attracted to your friends who are girls?
No. Even if I wasn’t in a committed relationship, my friends are like my family. And I am not attracted to my family.
16. You’re a lesbian? What a waste.
Excuse me, sir. Are you implying that my worth is based on whether or not you have a chance of sleeping with me?
17. You’re so pretty! You don’t look like a lesbian.
What do my physical characteristics have to do with my sexual orientation? All straight people don’t look alike, so why is it assumed that all lesbians do? You’re basically saying that there are no pretty lesbians, and that just doesn’t make any sense.