41 homophobic things straight people say every day without realising
‘Okay but who’s the man and who’s the woman?’
You’re probably homophobic. Even if you don’t think you are, or if you don’t mean to be, I guarantee that on a regular basis you say homophobic things you don’t even realise are actually incredibly rude and harmful. LGBTQ+ people get these casually homophobic questions and comments from straight people every single day, and we’re sick and tired of it.
From playground stuff loads of people still seem to have not grown out of, like “no homo” and “that’s so gay”, to calling us your “gay best friend”, questioning if our sexuality is legitimate, or asking in-depth questions about our sex lives. If you’re really an ally, pay attention when we ask you not to say these things; actually listen and understand what we’re explaining to you; and please, please, just stop saying all of them.
Here are 41 homophobic things straight people say to us every single day:
‘That’s so gay’
Sorry, I didn’t realise we were still in primary school – not that it was acceptable to say this then, either. I can’t quite believe we still need to explain this, but if you’re using “gay” in a negative way when what you really mean is “that’s so annoying/stupid/lame”, you’re literally just being homophobic.
‘I wish they were fully straight’
The only thing bi people “fully” are, is fully bi.
As part of The Tab’s Pride series, we want to uncover the full extent of discrimination at unis, based on someone’s sexuality or gender identity.
Yes many LGBTQ+ people have reclaimed the word – but you can’t say it if you’re not gay, hun.
And whilst we’re at it, don’t use ‘dyke, poof, fag or twink’ either
Just because some queer people choose to use these words when referring to themselves, again – it’s not a free pass for you to say it. If it’s not you, you can’t say it. They’re literally slurs, and we use some of them very loosely than their original meanings.
‘What does [insert gay slang here] mean?’
Not every queer person is a homosexual dictionary. If you really want to know, Google it.
‘You’re gay? What a waste’
This really isn’t the compliment you think it is – it’s just prejudice. Why can’t I be attractive and gay? Sorry I didn’t realise I existed literally just for you to try and get with. It’s a selfish thing to say, it’s an insult with casual homophobia thrown in there.
‘Omg you have to help me decide what to wear’
Sweetheart just because I am gay, it doesn’t mean I double as the cast of Queer Eye.
‘I bet I could turn you’
You really couldn’t, trust me.
‘Who’s the man and who’s the woman?’
I hate to break it to you, but we’re both the same gender – that’s kind of the whole point.
‘But you look straight/you don’t look gay!’
A lot of masculine queer men and feminine queer women get this and even though it’s almost always intended as a compliment, it doesn’t feel like one to us. Gay people come in all shapes and sizes, there’s no need to be patronising and tell us we don’t fit the stereotypical queer person.
Also if you’re literally saying we don’t look gay as a good thing – that means you think it’s bad to look gay. Careful hun, your homophobia is showing.
‘I wish I was a lesbian! You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with men’
If I had £1 for every time a straight girl said this to me, I’d be able to go live on a private island where I never had to see a heterosexual ever again. Okay so we all get men are annoying, but you wish you could have a girlfriend and risk getting hate crimed every time you walk down the street? Cool cool cool.
‘It’s fine you’re gay, but don’t hit on me’
And “do you fancy me?” – I promise you luv, you’re not that attractive.
‘I always knew you were’
What gave it away?
On a real though, so many queer people get this when they come out – and it’s not a compliment. Okay so you reckon you clocked something that took me literally years to figure out and accept about myself? Do you want a medal?
‘When did you decide to be gay?’
Around the same time you made the conscious choice to be straight, I think!
No one chooses their sexuality, it’s who we are – just like you. Grow up.
‘What was it like when you came out?’
What makes you assume I feel comfortable enough around you to share such a personal detail about me? I get it, some queer people like talking about stuff like this to help normalise it, but not all of us are.
Coming out is incredibly emotional and difficult – like with anything personal, a lot of us need to establish a relationship with someone before answering these questions.
‘It’s just a phase’
Yes sexuality is fluid and can change over time, that’s fine. But how would you feel if I told you being straight and being attracted to your boyfriend was “just a phase” you were going to “grow out of” soon?
‘Are you like 50/50?’
See also, bi people being asked: “So what percentage do you like men, and what percentage do you like women?”
‘Why are you single? You’re bi’
Some people literally say that it should be easy for bi people to find partners, just because they’re bi. Just because someone’s attracted to more than one gender, that doesn’t mean they don’t have standards.
‘Are you a top or a bottom?’
I don’t ask you for in-depth details of how you and Tom have sex, Ellen, so you really don’t need to ask me for mine.
‘Lesbian sex doesn’t count’
There are loads of different ways different people can have sex, and they all count. If we say it’s sex, it’s sex – it’s not up to you to question it.
‘How does sex with girls work?’
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: GOOGLE IT XX
‘I watch lesbian porn, but I’m not gay’
Ah yes, I remember my first post-lesbian porn panic. We’ve all been there. You don’t need to worry, I’m not going to try and graft you just because you’ve seen two women have sex on the internet. But I appreciate you confirming your heterosexuality nonetheless.
‘But don’t you want to have children?’
You might not know this but queer people can actually have children, biological or not, the same as straight people.
‘Omg I love gays!’
You “love” gays?? Right but you saying this makes me feel like you don’t love me one single bit.
‘Will you be my gay best friend?’
Why do I have to be your “gay” best friend? Can’t we just drop the category and be friends? Or should I call you my “straight” best friend???
‘How far have you transitioned?’
The only genitals you should be concerned with are your own. Fuck off.
‘Bi people are just selfish’
Being bi doesn’t make you greedy, selfish, or anything else. And while we’re at it – bi people are no more likely to cheat than anyone else, gay or straight.
‘Can I watch you have sex?’
‘Have you tried the other gender? You might actually like it’
Have you tried sleeping with the same gender? You might actually like it x
‘I like gay people, but not when they’re too in your face with it’
Okay so we’re not allowed to hold hands, talk about being gay or even think about mentioning going to Pride, but when Fiat 500 Lucy and Football Twitter Jack start pretty much shagging in a club, we’re meant to be okay with that?
‘You’re gay but you don’t have to make it your whole personality’
Okay well I can assure you it isn’t – but who even cares if it is? Sexuality is a massive part of your identity, and if you think there’s something wrong with being out and proud then you’re just homophobic.
Using someone’s deadname
If you don’t know what a deadname is, it’s the name someone was given at birth, which a trans person has changed as part of their transition.
Using someone’s deadname, or their wrong pronouns, is just straight-up transphobic. Deadnaming is so harmful. It can cause discomfort that could be associated with that person’s old name. It’s not that hard to just use whatever name someone prefers, trust me.
‘He’s a bad type of gay’
You can be bad and gay, just like you can be bad and straight. But the two aren’t linked and there’s literally just no such thing as a “bad gay”.
‘You’re not asexual, you just haven’t met the right person yet’
If someone is asexual, their sexual feelings won’t just magically appear out of thin air one day. Just like gender, sexuality is a spectrum too. Some asexuals have sex and some of them don’t – it’s not your job to comment on it.
Same energy “that’s so gay”, it’s mainstream and very immature. It’s homophobic and offensive. It usually follows something which men aren’t stereotypically ‘meant’ to do, like crying or showing their mates affection. It doesn’t make you less of a man if you show emotion, just like it doesn’t make you less of a man if you’re gay. Just grow up.
‘I experimented with girls in first year!’
My sexual identity isn’t your experiment.
‘I don’t want to put my pronouns in my Insta bio in case people think I’m gay’
Right so first things first – everyone has pronouns, whether you’re straight or gay, cis or trans. Putting yours on your social media, email signature and other places helps normalise it, which can massively help trans and non-binary people and make things more inclusive for everyone.
Secondly – who cares if anyone thinks you’re gay, trans or anything else? If you’re worried about people saying that to you, it means you think there’s something wrong with being gay that you don’t want to be associated with.
‘How do you know you’re gay?’
How do you know you’re straight?
‘Are you sure you’re gay?’
This is just incredibly rude to ask. A lot of us have found it extremely difficult getting to the place we’re at now, we go through a lot of uncertainty and internalised homophobia to reach a place of comfort.
If someone tells you they’re gay, it is not your place to question or unpack how they feel. Just accept us as who we are and what we tell you.
‘You fancy everyone, you must have loads of threesomes’
Maybe I do have threesomes, but I’m not about to have one with you and your crusty boyfriend, Emily.
‘You can date girls, I don’t mind’
Bisexual woman are often told by the straight men they date that they can also kiss/sleep with/date other women. If they’re also cool with you doing this with men, if you’re poly or in an open relationship, that’s fine.
But more often than not, these men who are encouraging you to get with women would kick off if you did the same with men. They let you do it because they think girls kissing each other is “hot”, and also often because they don’t see queer female relationships as “serious” or legitimate.
The Tab’s Pride reporting series is putting a focus on highlighting LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating queer voices across UK campuses.
If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s an incident of homophobia on campus, an experience you’d like to share, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]
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