Dating can be a tricky thing to do, especially when you are new to it. Dating a queer individual, or the mere idea of approaching a person who is queer, can be a new experience for you, but it can be the most wonderful experiences at the same time.
Dating apps bring us closer to a potential partner. And in a situation like this, we should up our awareness game when we want to approach and impress them. Basic human decency along with knowledge about the queer community can do wonders for those who are still figuring out the rules of the dating game.
If you are a woman attracted to women, you might know how it is to approach a woman without objectifying her. If you are a gay man approaching a potential boyfriend, you might be confused while asking what their preferences are. These things happen all the time. Now, dating as a trans person is slightly different. It can bring up many insecurities due to the constant stigma society has created against to trans folks.
So gear up to learn few things about how to be an aware and informed partner of a queer person. But before I get to that, let’s talk about two thumb rules everyone must know:
Rule #1: People belonging to the LGBTQIA+ Community, are people, like every other person.
Rule #2: Have empathy and listen to your partner or potential partner, to build a healthy relationship.
The first impression is the last impression, so be careful about what you say to your potential date! Here are 10 things that you should never say about gender or orientation to your queer date.
Dear straight couples on dating sites, this one is for you, especially. This question is a huge NO! Bisexual people (or bi people, for those on the asexual spectrum) don’t exist for your threesomes. Imagine getting approached by someone thinking they are interested in dating you as a person and then finding out a couple behind the screen eagerly thinking to use you for their fantasies. This one is offensive and downright humiliating for any bi person trying their luck at dating.
What does ignorant mean? Does it mean people like you asking such questions? Try googling about pansexuality instead of expecting that a pansexual person will explain all of this to you on a dating site. Also, don’t judge or shame them for being attracted to trans folks. It only shows your transphobia along with ignorance, and that’s definitely something worth working on!
Wait. What? Okay, let’s remember that what is “weirdly” for you, can be “normal” for others. This one stereotype that all queer people dress in a different manner needs to go! People, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender, can dress the way they want. Shaming people for their dressing choices are offensive and controlling. A queer man can apply nail paint, a queer woman can be bald, and so on and so forth. People prefer non-judgmental, supportive partners, because that’s what partners are supposed to do! Lift their partner up instead of shaming, stereotyping, or name calling. Wouldn’t you agree?
This literally translates to “I don’t believe that a orientation like asexual exists and that’s why I will gaslight you while putting pressure on you to try finding the ‘one’ .”
This is one of the worst things you can say to an ace individual. This should be avoided. If they are on a dating site, they are actually trying to find the right person. And guess what? Spreading a-phobia will make you the ‘‘wrong person’’.
Ever heard about gender non-conforming or non-binary people? Or gender fluidity? No? Well, if you ask someone this, you might get this response: “I don’t need a doctor, you need a book on queer theory and gender!”
Try to understand different orientations and genders by reading research, articles, material from queer resource centres online, instead of making such insensitive remarks.
Just as every gym-going guy is not a gay ‘top’ (referring to their preferred position in bed), every skinny or chubby guy who wear kurtas or is into music and poetry is not a ‘bottom’! Please stop stereotyping your own community. Femme or feminine gay men can be tops too. People belonging to so-called ‘masculine’ identities can also be a versatile. For a healthy dating experience for all, look beyond a person’s appearances, and try to get to the person better.
“You are not a lesbian if you have such feminine traits!” “You are not a lesbian if you do so and so things.” “You aren’t a lesbian because of this xyz thing done by you.” Hmm. I thought people look for a potential partner or love interest on dating sites instead of certification of being a lesbian. Staaaahp! Also, straight, please stop texting and approaching lesbian women for “fun”, or (worse) to “convert” them. That’s not going to happen. I’d also like to offer a gentle reminder to fellow lesbian women too! Throw these stereotypes into the bin and support this wonderful person whom you thought to contact in this first place.
Yes, aromantics are a “thing”. Actually no, Aromantics are not things, they’re people who don’t feel romantic attraction towards anyone. They exist and they ask for compassion and companionship too. They can feel sexual and aesthetic attraction, so apart from good looks, you need to be good by nature to think about dating them. Questioning somebody’s orientation (sexual, romantic, or otherwise) is off limits in the dating game.
Okay, before this comes up, you need to ask yourself some questions before asking them. Does them being from the trans community matter? Why? Because society will judge you? Doesn’t this person matter more than the society’s norms?
Asking a trans individual such questions followed by more questions is problematic. Just by being trans, they don’t owe you an explanation. There’s another thing you should be aware of. If you aren’t dating a person because they are trans, I’m sorry to say, but you have transphobia which needs to be done away with (and honestly, it isn’t too hard to do!). Trans people are people. Period.
If we had a Rs. 2000 note for every time we got this questions, queer people will be millionaires by now (without exploiting the working class, that is). We face this question from parents, friends, acquaintances, relatives, and even absolute strangers. At a date, please don’t ask this question. Queer people who want kids will raise them the way they want to. We don’t need a course or a lecture on how parenting as a queer person, by defying patriarchal gender roles, is going to ruin lives of our future kids. If those who are planning, or have an ambition, to have kids and a family, they already know how they want to do their parenting. If you try to put heterosexuality or heterosexual gender roles down their throats with this question, then I have to break your bubble. This isn’t going to happen. And, let’s face it, you will get blocked!
These ten things can go a long way when you’ve decided to swipe right on a queer person, and want to take things further with them. It takes a little work, but all relationships do, don’t they?
All the best for your experience and don’t forget to educate yourself about different orientations and genders!