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‘Do You Do Threesomes?’ And 9 Other Things You Should NEVER Ask A Queer Person

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TinderEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #AllTypesAllSwipes, by Tinder and Youth Ki Awaaz to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week. Tinder now supports more ways to express gender identity by giving users the ability to add information about their gender outside the binary. Share your experiences of love, dating and authenticity here.

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.

1: So you are Bi? Do you do threesomes?

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.

2: What does Pansexual mean? You are attracted to Pans or what?

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!

3: Why do you queer people dress weirdly, can’t you try dressing “normally”?

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?

4: Asexual? I think you haven’t found the right person yet!

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’’.

5: How can you feel like a man for a particular day and then a woman next day, you need a doctor!

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.

6: Hey! Top here! You look bottom, no?

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.

7: You are not a Lesbian if you do that!

“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.

8: Aromantic! Is that even a thing?

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.

9: Why did you never tell me that you are trans?

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.

10: But how will you raise kids in the society?

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!

Featured image source: shharc/DeviantArt.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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