11 Things Not To Say When Your Girl Friend Comes Out

Just a couple of clangers to steer clear of

What Not To Say When Your Girl Friend Comes Out

by Nell Frizzell |
Published on

With the news that half of young people don’t identify as ‘straight’ the whole rite of passage that is coming out may, in fact, be on the way out. And yet, people will probably always tell their friends that they’ve had a same-sex experience. Which leads us to the tricky issue of what to say in reply. Well, to start with, maybe try and avoid some of these:

1. ‘I’ve always wanted to try being with a girl’

This is sort like telling someone who’s just moved to Newcastle that you’ve always wanted to go to Gateshead for the weekend. I mean, cool. I’m glad you like it up there. But it’s not quite the same thing.

A lot of women fancy women. A lot of women are keen to explore their sexuality. But being gay is more than just an experiment. So, you know, try not to belittle it.

2. ‘So do you think you’ll marry a girl?’

People tend to ask this just a little early. While it’s nice to think that women can get married to each other in this country, asking your friend if they’re going to get hitched is quite a lot of pressure to put on someone. And, if they’re quite new to this whole thing, or don’t have girlfriend yet, it may raise some worries that literally don’t apply right now.

3. ‘I KNEW IT. I was saying to [insert the name of friend/colleague/acquaintance here] the other day….

We’re not all Kardashians. We don’t all like knowing we’re the subject of other people’s speculation, far less gossip. It can also be hard – when you’re trying to navigate your own feelings and experiences – to think that you’ll be watched and discussed as you do it. So, by all means say that you are pleased, don’t make out that they’re the last to know.

4. ‘You've always been greedy’

Oooh, reductive, unsympathetic and offensive – what a hat trick. If you still think that being anything other than purely heterosexual speaks to an easy-come-easy-go (if you’ll pardon the pun) voracious, indiscriminate sexual hunger then, my friend, you’ve got some catching up to do.

5. ‘But what about having kids?’

See: are you getting married. But with the added bonus of heteronormativity. Same sex couples can have children. In all sorts of different ways and in all different scenarios. Don’t fear that your 23-year-old friend is banishing herself from motherhood for life. Firstly, because you may not even really know if she wants to (neither may she) but also because that’s not necessarily going to happen.

6. ‘Just because Kristen Stewart and Cara Delevingne did it’

If people chose their sexual orientation based on celebrities then we’d probably all be banging our personal trainers right now. Or our personal assistants. While it’s great that women like Kristen and Cara have normalized same-sex relationships, and hopefully reassured a lot of girls that how they feel is totally valid, your friend is probably having more significant emotional experience than just acting cool.

7. But you’re so pretty!

I mean, if those women in the answer above prove anything it’s that there are hella lot of mainstream good looking women who have had same-sex relationships. And yet, there still seems to be this strange idea, tucked away in the nasty corner of people’s brains that being gay is something ugly girls retreat to when they can’t get any men. Being gay and being goodlooking are both fairly random – sometimes the Venn diagram crosses, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes gay women are super goodlooking, sometimes they're not.

On a related but different note: see how a certain strain of unappealing men brand any woman who reject them ‘a fucking lesbian’.

8. ‘It's just a phase’

Madonna’s cowgirl look was a phase. Pokemon were a phase. Myspace was a phase. Being gay is not a phase. Neither is bisexuality, a-sexuality or gender fluidity. Glad we’ve got that cleared up.

9. What do you do in bed then?

I’m yet to meet someone who asks this of their straight friends in quite the same way. ‘How is the sex’ is one thing. But ‘where do you put your bits, what goes in what hole and how do you move them’ is a substantially different question. People may or may not be happy answering the first. People may or may not be happy listening to the answer to the second.

10. "Five minutes in London and this..."

Yeah, that’s how it works. It’s a postcode thing. A London thing. Like Oyster cards and eye-wateringly high rent and videos of Hellraiser left on bus stop roofs.

11. But I thought you had a boyfriend when you were 15?

A lot of people had a boyfriend when they were 15. A lot of people didn’t. Neither is a great indication of a person’s sexuality. Also – and I’m quite surprised if I’m the first person to tell you this but what the hell – sexuality isn’t an Ikea drawer-tidy. People can move between compartments. Hell, some people ignore the compartments altogether. And that is what makes the world a wonderful place.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Why Ellen Page Coming Out Really Mattered To Me

A Brief Timeline Of Your Life In Kisses

43% of Young People Neither 'Gay' Or 'Straight'

Follow Nell on Twitter: @NellFrizzell

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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