We’re here, we’re queer, and we belong. By Linh Cao My heart was pounding in my chest. My breathing was ragged as I squeezed one of my hands with my sweaty palm. I had just come out to a good friend of mine as bisexual and waited patiently for her response. Odds are she wouldn’t reject me outright—we’re millennials in the Bay Area, both having graduated from UC Berkeley. Surely, she’d be open-minded about the whole thing, right? “Dude, that’s awesome!” Exhaling a sigh of relief, I laughed. “I had a girl friend go down on me once too,” she continued, “It was awesome.” I paused. Her reaction was definitely more positive than what the worst-case scenario could have been, but something about that last comment made my stomach churn. I didn’t know what to say so I responded, “So...are you bi too, then?” “Nah, when she asked me to go down on her, I said no, so I’m pretty sure I’m not bi. Vaginas scare me.” Here was a “straight” woman centering herself in the conversation during what I viewed as a pivotal time in our friendship. More than that, she was diminishing my identity as bisexual by comparing it to one hookup that she’d had in the past yet refused to identify herself as bisexual. My friend’s statement was incredibly rude because — and let’s forget the whole bisexual thing for a second—a friend is telling you incredibly personal and huge news—it might just be big enough to change your perspective on said friend or it might not. Either way, your friend is nervous as heck about telling you because there’s stories about people getting hurt when they tell their loved ones about their sexual orientation. Sure, reacting in a friendly way is a good start, but centering yourself in this? It can make your friend feel like you don’t really care about what they’re telling you and that all you care about is talking about yourself and how their news affects you instead of them.
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