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"Hi, I recently went to a Rainbow Youth Night in my local area and saw someone I knew from school. The thing is, they introduced themselves to my friend with a different name than the one they are know by at school(with pronouns they,them). I would love to approach this person and ask which name they'd prefer me using because I'd hate to be calling them something they're not comfortable with, I just don't know what exactly to say. Also I've been working up the courage to ask this person out so.."

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

Oh this is great, this is just GREAT.

You see, because you have two lovely, totally awesome questions to ask! Here’s how it’s gonna go:

YOU: Hi, I have two important questions to ask you.

THEM: Cool, I love questions.

YOU: What name do you prefer I use for you?

THEM: Oh! Thanks for asking. I would love it if you called me Todd.

YOU: Awesome. So, Todd, would you like to go on a date with me?

THEM: Did Kristin of Everyone Is Gay tell you how to ask me out, because this is SO ROMANTIC. Yes, yes I would. *heart eyes*

BOTH OF YOU: *in love forever*

~ end scene ~

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"What should you do when you say a shitty thing to someone? I am generally careful about my words, but I made a joke that was actually not very nice to someone I care about. I have recognised what I did wrong, apologised to the person whose feelings I hurt, and respected their need to be distant from me for now. But now, all I want to do is fall into a spiral of self-hatred and never leave my house again for fear of doing something shitty again, which doesn't feel healthy or productive."

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

I want to start by telling you that, given the context of this question, you have already done two incredibly wonderful things: First, you’ve recognized that your misstep affects two people – yourself, and the person you care about. Second, and most importantly, you’ve prioritized the needs of the person you care about by recognizing, apologizing, and respecting their space. The importance of those actions cannot be overstated. So, so many people who are in a similar position to you, Anonymous, get so wrapped up in that self-hatred part of the equation (and we are gonna get there, hang tight), that they do not prioritize the overarching respect that is so critically important to the person who has been hurt by their actions or words.

I want you to begin by acknowledging the respect you are giving to the person who you’ve hurt. That is a productive, positive action that you have taken and are continuing to take.

Now listen to me: you are not defined by one moment, one action, one utterance. What defines any person is the way that they respond, learn, and adjust after they do something that has hurt another person (or a group of people). Yes, of course, it would be just lovely if no one ever said words that hurt others, never took actions that caused harm… but that just isn’t possible. We do not live in a utopia, we live on a planet that is riddled with misinformation, complicated and troubling messages, and a whole butt-ton of inter-personal feelings. The truest path on this little planet to a place of healing and growth is found by learning from the moments where we all, inevitably, misspeak or misstep.

Once, at a speaking event that I did years ago in Tennessee, a student expressed concern, and hurt, during the Q&A. With the room full of hundreds of students, she said to me, “during your talk you said that people were either LGBTQ or straight. I am a trans woman and I identify as straight, and that really made me feel erased.” My eyes likely got as big as dinner plates as I realized what I had done – I had used my words in a way that not only caused this person to feel erased, but that had potentially misguided a room full of people! I felt horrible, but I also immediately realized that this person speaking to me deserved an immediate apology, recognition, and a promise for change. And, that is what happened. I apologized. We had a long, incredible conversation about gender, sexuality, and erasure while the audience listened, and I changed that part of the event forevermore so that I wouldn’t ever misinform anyone else on that false dichotomy.

Now, that doesn’t mean I never misspoke again, Anonymous. It does mean, though, that I never misspoke in that way again, and that I became even more vigilant about choosing my language and constantly, consistently educating myself. You will leave the house again (you must! you’ll at least need some gummy bears from time to time), and it is completely, 100% possible (and even likely!) that when you do you might hurt another person through your words or your actions. You are not a perfect person. You do not know all the things about all the people or even all the things about your own language!! No one is, and no one does. What I can promise you, though, is that you have learned something from this experience, and you can use that knowledge to help you make better choices and choose better words in the future!!

So. When you feel that pang of “what the fuck did I do,” turn it on its head and make it productive. That’s how you escape from a self-hate that will always, only be unproductive! In the morning, when the moment flashes through your brain and you wince and start to spiral, find a quiet spot and meditate. Clear your brain. Help your emotions to find a place of balance, because that balance will better guide you and your words next time. In the afternoon, when you think “what the hell is WRONG with me, how could I have done that,” find a book, an article, a video, a podcast that has informative, balanced content so that you can be better informed and educated. That education will help you to understand the world around you in even more complicated and nuanced ways, and that will also help to guide you next time. In the evening when you start to sink into a deep, desperate longing that it had never happened… remember that it did happen, and that you are learning from it, and that is the way that the world changes. Keep working on yourself, continue to respect the needs of those around you, and please, please leave your house. That courage, Anonymous, is what will help change things for yourself, and for a whole lot of others.

**
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“I’ve been fooling around with my straight best friend for 6 months. Surprisingly, he made the first ‘moves’ and we progressed from there, but we agreed to keep it as ‘friends with benefits.’ But we act like a couple – we do everything together, and we both even say I love you several times a day. The only thing he won’t do is admit we’re ‘together,’ even though our close friends even say we’re a good couple. I call him Mickey (from Shameless) because he won’t admit he’s gay. Do I just wait?”

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Shane Billings Says:

In times like this I find great comfort in the electropop yodeling of Gwen Stefani, whose first solo album demanded that we ask ourselves: What you waiting for? 

Not-so-totally long ago, I fell for a guy who kept small Warhol prints hanging on the wall of his bathroom, each with a different quotation. One, in particular, read: “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” So I’d be visiting this guy, and I’d be in his bathroom, checking for boogers or stray hairs before smoochy time. And I would see this particular print and wonder… Does waiting actually make it more exciting?

Like, waiting at the DMV never made my registration tags sparkle or shimmer. Two hours in line at Space Mountain maketh not a spacier thrill. Waiting, in and of itself, does not promise meaning or value to the futures we’re hoping for.

So to answer your question: no, you shouldn’t JUST wait. Take your Gwen Stefani moment, and find out what exactly it is you’re waiting for. Waiting for Mickey to admit he is gay could be frustrating and insensitive to the reality that he may be searching for a different way to define his own sexuality.

Instead, pair the waiting with a variety of other things, like a behavioral platter of fruits and soft cheeses. Tell Mickey how you’re feeling about the dynamic in your relationship, and that you love him. Then wait a little.

Enjoy the current status of your relationship, and take pleasure in the fact that you’re able to do everything together. Expand your definition of “everything.” Wait a little more.

Watch a few Nora Ephron movies. Read a few Nora Ephron books. Then wait a little.

In a relationship, waiting can be a courageous act, so long as the waiting doesn’t make you inactive or resentful. Be generous and be kind. Give Mickey time and space to define his sexuality on his own terms. Appreciate your role in his discovery.

**
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In Bed: Brittani Nichols

Episode 3 of "Getting In Bed With Kristin" brings Brittani Nichols - actor, comedian, writer, and "esteemed lesbian" - to my guest bed! We answer a bunch of your questions (and some questions from Jenny Owen Youngs, who refused to be left out), a little bit of advice, and we find out that I am really, really horrible at telling jokes!

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"There's this girl that I like and I want her to know that I'm interested in getting to know her better. So I though about doing the whole "Hey, wanna get coffee sometime?" thing but I legit HATE coffee and like everything else (tea, Starbucks, you know). What is an acceptable causal meet up place for me and this super cute girl?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

First of all, might I suggest that you begin by saying, “I have wanted to ask you to grab a coffee for awhile now… but I hate coffee. So in the interest of honesty, I was wondering if you’d like to NOT get coffee with me?!”

Then, maybe she will giggle or chortle or nervously tap her foot or roll her eyes. If she rolls her eyes, roll yours back and forget it. No one likes an eye roller. If she does any of the other things or signals in anyway that she’d like this dialogue to continue, then might I suggest:

GETTING ICE CREAM or if you don’t eat dairy GETTING DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM. I think I may have started off too strong with my ideas here, because I cannot think of anything that would be better than an ice cream date. Please stop reading and go ask her to ice cream.

Okay so you either hate ice cream (WHO ARE YOU EVEN) or the only ice cream store in your town is owned and operated by your ex (BUMMMMMER), so here are a few more ideas:

GOING TO A MUSEUM! Museums rule and sometimes they even have exhibits where butterflies land on you or where there are dioramas of moose (mooses?) and stuff. Come on. It will be so fun!

WALKING IN A PARK! SITTING ON A PARK BENCH! SWINGING ON A SWING SET! ANYTHING PARK-Y! Spring is here and even if your city is still a snowy-tundra, having a fun park adventure is almost always a good time. If you time it right (post-snow), you can even buy soft pretzels (if you live near a park big enough to have soft-pretzel vendors), or buy a pack of skittles to share while you walk & talk. Eh?!

LAZER TAG? Probably this is a little extreme but the thought of you being like “I hate coffee so the other casual activity I thought of that we could do is play lazer tag,” made me laugh really hard, so. You’re welcome.

DO YOU LIKE BOOKS? HOW ABOUT A BOOKSTORE HANG? Sorry if this is too nerdy for you but like, I love bookstores and bookstores need people in them so this is a win-win for society. You have a place to go with this girl, you can talk about your fave comics or books, you can each buy something and help support independent booksellers, what could be better??!?!

ICE CREAM. Ice cream could be better, probably, because ice cream rules. So, if she’s super pumped about ice cream you can make your SECOND date a bookstore and your third date a park and your fourth date going to a museum and then you can have your wedding at a lazer tag park.

I am so, so glad that we had this talk.

Best of luck / Invite me to the wedding,
Kristin

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