I have become close friends with someone who I believe will be a friend for life. We clicked the moment we met and I love our conversations that we have. We bounce ideas off each other and nothing is really off limits. Neither of us take ourselves too seriously so it creates a healthy balance and enables us to ask the questions to each other we probably couldn’t just put out there to the world in fear of being misunderstood.
He is a homosexual who has also gone through the adoption process to become a father. We often discuss his journey, prejudices he has faced during his life and sometimes he asks for my advice about things he has read and how I would interpret them. During a discussion about a few anti-pride tweets we had seen, I began my sentence with “why are people so bothered by how other people want to live, what” and then my friend interrupted with. “do you know what upsets me too? When someone says I have no problem with gays, what happens in your bedroom is your business”. He had just interrupted my sentence where I was just about to finish it with “what happens in your bedroom is your business”. I paused and looked at him, a little bit perplexed by why that was a problem and I think he realised there was something just hadn’t thought about.
He went on to share how that phrase makes him feel. You see it degrades his sexuality to simply a preference in the bedroom, as if its all just about sex. He said being a homosexual isn’t just that, that phrase takes out the life he lives and the love he feels for another man. It disregards relationships all together. He said being Gay is about the makeup of the family he has created, his son having 2 dads, his wedding and having to live each day with the negativity that that creates and the fight he has had, to have that very family. His life isn’t just about who he has sex with. The phrase also implies that the bedroom is as far as homosexuality goes. It excludes all the things that a heterosexual couple do, holding hands, having a dance, sharing a life together. That phrase implies that you would be fine with this idea that LGBTQ+ relationships happen behind closed doors but you aren’t accepting that’s not where the relationship stops.
As he described how that one phrase made him feel, I felt awful, truly awful. I genuinely never saw the implications of that phrase to be like that but now I realise it’s exactly what he says it is. I consider myself to be quite open minded and definitely not bigoted but in this case I took my choice of language for granted. I am grateful for the type of friendship I have with him because it enables me to grow as a person and have a greater understanding of a life I don’t live. This wont be a phrase I will use again and I am hoping by writing about our conversation it may make others realise too how we can cause harm even with the best intentions in the world.
It is important to understand that a sexual preference, despite what that very phrase itself implies isn’t all about sex, its about relationships and shouldn’t be degraded to be just what happens in the bedroom.