Gay etiquette 101: A primer for well-intentioned straight people

Gay friendly logoBY BUTCH WONDERS
Butch Wonders

It seems that bunches of straight people are unclear on certain matters of etiquette when it comes to The Gays. This results in much consternation and awkwardness on their part, most of which could be easily avoided. (Note to straight people: if you’re nice and well-meaning and not a homophobe, we probably won’t think you’re being a jerk. Trust us — we’ve encountered jerks, and they’re not you.)

Here’s my best advice to straight people in various situations that seem to make everyone feel awkward. Thanks to my excellent Butch Wonders Facebook fans for lots of these ideas.

Situation A: You know someone’s gay and you’re curious whether they’re dating anyone. You know them well (maybe they’re your kid, maybe your gay brother, lesbian sister, whatever).

What not to do: Say, “Do you have any new friends?” I hate it when people refer euphemistically to my partner/DGF as my “friend,” especially when it’s preceded by an awkward hesitation. Something else not to do: avoid it like the plague. Act as if conversation about their romantic life is totally off-limits, even though you’d talk about it if they were dating someone of the opposite sex.

What to do instead: Ask the question exactly as you would if they were straight, except switching the pronouns where applicable. “So, are you dating anyone these days?” is totally acceptable.


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