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"I had a friend over and she said something was "for homos" while one of my roommates, who might be gay, was within hearing distance without us realizing at the time. Neither of us has anything against gay people and I knew she was using the phrase in a completely sarcastic way, so I didn’t think to call her out on it. But now I’m worried my potentially gay roommate thinks I’m a homophobic idiot and won’t ever come out, esp since we live in a pretty homophobic place. Am I overthinking this?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think… If I were you, I’d go up to her and say VERY QUICKLY, “hey, listen, my friend said ‘for homos’ the other day and now I’m terrified that you think we’re homophobic idiots and like, I don’t know your life and maybe your bff is gay or your brother or your mom or whatever and I just, I don’t want you to think that because that’s not true and we love everyone and she was just kidding slash being dumb and you probably didn’t even hear it, but I’ve been obsessing about it and I even asked everyoneisgay.com what to do bc i was so stressed out and so now i’m just blurting out my feelings i’m sorry, i’m not hateful, i swear”

… I dunno if that’ll work, but like, at least your feelings will be out there and you won’t feel like your roomie is uncomfortable anymore, you know? You might feel like she thinks you’re completely weird, but WHO ISN’T COMPLETELY WEIRD, YOU KNOW?

Generally, people aren’t offended if you apologize for something that doesn’t apply to them. Does that make sense? If the tables were turned and your roomie’s friend made a gay joke, you would feel 1000x better if she apologized, even tho you aren’t gay… you know? There are no limits when it comes to being respectful to those around you. You’re doing great.

Kristin Says:

Ohhhhhh sarcasm, you tricky little devil, you.

I think this question brings to light the trouble with words and phrases. Saying something is “for homos” is funny to some people whether they or gay or straight or bi or trans or pan or asexual or WHATEVER, without necessarily being an indicator of how they feel when they aren’t trying to make someone laugh. Their brain is like, this is what I know I mean, but this is why I think it is a funny play on words, and then sometimes the brains of other people are like ‘oh hahahaha i know what you mean,’ and everything goes according to plan. The problem, though, is that not everyone is going to agree with their sarcasm, not everyone is going to GET their sarcasm, and some people are going to be truly insulted by what they THINK was meant, or by the fact that NO MATTER WHAT THEY MEANT YOU SHOULDN’T JOKE AROUND WITH A WORD LIKE HOMO.

Do you get what I mean? We all approach these things differently, so I want to just caution all y’all: generally, jokes including words or phrases like homo or gay or {insert other hot button words here} are best left unsaid unless you are with your BFF and you know they know you and you know they will get the MANY LAYERS of your comedy and not understand or misunderstand it as one-dimensional.

Jesus. I am trying so hard to communicate my feelings without pissing you guys off.

SO THAT ALL SAID: 1) Talk to your friend about being more cautious with those kinds of phrases, regardless of her intent. 2) It doesn’t matter the sexuality of your roommate. All you have to do is own the fact that your friend said something that might be offensive to ANYONE. Talking to them is the best move – just a quick simple apology that your friend was tossing around insensitive words is perfect and will communicate the message clearly.

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