"I’m often ‘complimented’ by people saying things such as ‘I’m glad you’re a girly lesbian, those manly ones freak me out/are gross/are weird.’ How do I tell people this is not a compliment but actually an insult in a way that they will understand?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
If it’s a boy, I would say “i know what you mean, i’m glad you’re a girly boy, bc manly men freak me out too” if it’s a girl I would say “I know what you mean, I’m glad you’re a manly straight girl bc girly straight girls make me feel sooo weird” and when they look at you like you just COMPLETELY offended them and you ARE SUCH A BITCH. You can tell them that what they said made you feel like a pile of poo-pants.
Then I’m sure it’ll spark some sort of ACTUAL and SERIOUS conversation where you can tell them “you’re basically saying that i’m a part of a group of people that you’re disgusted by, and that makes me feel shitty AND i never would expect that you’d be the kind of person who was disgusted by people based on how they dress or cut their hair.”
They’ll probably say something like ‘but i was COMPLIMENTING you, i just think it’s weird when girls try to be boys and i like that you’re your own person’ …which is SOOOO stupid and doesn’t make ANY SENSE, but it’s a feeling people feel and while you could continue to fight with sarcasm you could also calmly explain to them that they really are hurting your feelings, and the feelings of millions of girls with short hair. Aside from it being rude to the ‘lesbian community’ it’s just not nice, and you guys, being nice to each other is the first step in completely changing the world…and it’s not that hard to do.
Ughhhhhhhhh YOU GUYS THIS HAPPENS TO ME ALL THE TIME.
I am going to be really real with you all and let you know that I personally find it impossible to wear my activist pants 24-7, so sometimes I just smile vacantly and nod and grab another handful of popcorn.
Other times, though, I react in a way that, as Dannielle said, will spark a conversation. Sometimes it is as simple as me raising my eyebrows and saying, “I meaaaaannnnnnn…” and keeping my eyebrows raised until they say, “Oh, I didn’t mean it to sound like that but, you know what I’m saying, right?” To which I reply (eyebrows still raised), “I MEANNNNNNNNNNN…”
Then, I explain myself as follows: “I do know what you are saying, but I want to talk about it for just a second, because I find it interesting that so many people have that ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. If you think about our lives, and the images that we see everywhere, and the things we are taught are ‘right’ and ‘normal,’ you’ll probably find a whole bunch of stuff that is totally inaccurate. The thing is, all of that nonsense telling you that boys like blue and girls like pink, that stuff gets inside your brain and makes you HONESTLY believe that the world is easily separated into neat little categories… and that people who don’t fit those categories are WEIRD or NOT NORMAL or STUPID. I think about it a lot, and so, even though I know you are meaning to say that I am a ‘normal looking lesbian,’ what you are really saying is that ‘girls should be girls and boys should be boys,’ so… it would just mean a lot to me if you’d think more about that. You know?”
Most humans are pretty receptive to that train of thought. You don’t have to demand that they agree with you… just that they listen to what you say and take a moment to think about what they are saying. Sometimes you will still get the response of, “Eh, I guess but it still bugs me out,” but hopefully your words will sit with even those people and at least wedge open a tiny space of open-mindedness.