Sometimes people think I’m a lesbian, that’s the response I get most often when people ask me if I’m dating anyone or ask me about a significant other. Most often, I will refer to my boyfriends as my partner and people tend to question that. There are a couple reasons why I do this.
First of all, with the work I do (domestic abuse/sexual assault, women’s groups, human trafficking) you’re always trained on how you talk to people. For example, if you’re talking to a female survivor of domestic abuse, you shouldn’t ask if their boyfriend did it because they might have a girlfriend. By assuming they have a boyfriend, this could make the survivor withhold aspects of their life important to the situation because they might worry if you will judge them or treat them differently if they define their sexual orientation. So whenever I talk to anyone, I ask about their partner.
This is also the same reason in a group setting, I talk about my partner rather than my boyfriend, so I can create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing and knows that it is an open, judgement free zone. After I say their name, it is clear I have a boyfriend, but I want to use neutral language to everyone can express every aspect of their life they wish to.
Not only that, but being a straight female, I can openly disclose my orientation without any fear or negative repercussions. No one is going to discriminate against me or treat me poorly because of who I’m dating. Others don’t have that privilege. If someone discloses they are in a same sex relationship they do have that fear and rightfully so. I hope social environments are changing to become more accepting, after all, love is love, but I know there are still major challenges that arise.
In a way, calling my boyfriend a partner, is now just a habit, but also I don’t think it’s fair that I can disclose my boyfriend but others can’t. Like I said, most of the time when I say that, people assume I’m a lesbian and I get strange looks until I say my partners name and that’s ok. If people want to assume thing about me, that is their choice. It doesn’t affect me one bit. 🙂
I do discuss this with my parnter. I haven’t had many boyfriends at all, but none have been opposed to it after I explain my reasoning, but I always want to be considerate. At times, I think people assume you are lessening the relationship, demoting it from boyfriend to partner and I have to explain that’s not the case at all.
I wanted to share this because of how many questions I get regarding this aspect of my life. 🙂
Next week I have some very exciting news to share!
I’ve also been working on planning a few events, one in July which I’m very excited about. Hopefully those will start to fall into place and will be successful. 🙂