The gay-question I hated the most

Q1: “Are you gay?”

Mann… I hate this question. There’s something fundamentally wrong with it.

An alternative: “What is your gender orientation?”

Let’s call the second one Q2.


The first is obviously, a yes-no question. The answer directs you to at least two destinations: one is, “yes, I’m gay” and “no, I’m not gay”. This question promotes singularity — something everybody ought to hate. WHY? Because it’s delimiting. When you answer ‘yes’, you tend to route people’s thinking to “yes, he/she’s gay” so she likes pink, loathes blue, likes muscled models, chooses latte over espresso… et cetera.

(Of course, this pattern of thinking is not the same for all, but for most…)

The singularity about Q1 is insulting, don’t you think? When you’re branded or labelled a gay, people forgot that you’re something else — a devoted daughter, a loyal friend, a reliable son, a successful entrepreneur…

If you were to use the second question, will these patterns of thinking change? I have no way of verifying if it would. But let’s see.

“What is your gender orientation?”

What if we use a different subject, say ask: what is your professional background? And then I say, I studied Business Administration but I write. “Oh, so you write….” He writes, but at the back of your skull you wouldn’t only be thinking of him as a writer. For you, he is also into painting, ugly poetry, social entrepreneurship, community service, pot planting, messy kitchen, et cetera…

Unlike the first question, this one has the resounding and rewarding tone of plurality.

WHY push for plurality versus singularity? Because plural is real.

Look at you? Are you just a blogger, a reader, a lurking net surfer? Nope. You are also someone’s favorite child; you are the helpful neighbor next door; you are the avid comic-collector; you are someone’s friend, someone’s lover. And that’s what takes your energy, spending every bit of your time to cater to their needs and your needs. And this makes you happily busy.

At the end of all these, why would you want one label or stupid question to reduce all that?



2 thoughts on “The gay-question I hated the most

  1. Well said Jan, this is so true. It seems an extraordinary thing to ask someone to my mind, and as you say, once the question is out there you’re already a part of it for refusing to answer will undoubtedly lead to the conclusion that are gay, whilst the yes or no labels one immediately too. What people do with their genitals is of such little consequence it shouldn’t need to be in question at all.
    sonmi herself was recently asked if she is a man pretending to be a woman. I kid you not. I have never needed to pretend to be anything (*looks at the Cloud who nods in agreement). The person asking meant no harm, and would be mortified to think a faux pas had occurred. I am a female as it turns out, but it wouldn’t matter if I were a Chihuahua smoking a cigar, I would still be as incredibly awesome as I already am anyway. *laughs a lot*. People reveal what they wish about themselves, and sometimes you find out more as you know them, sometimes not, and that’s that so far as I can see.
    Humans are so very weird I find.

    – sonmi upon the Cloud

    • Thanks for sharing your piece sonmi! 😀 My most recent job had pushed me to rethink the words that we use to construct simple statements, messages, and questions. And this one surfaced…
      It would be simple to use this labels to avoid confusion. But too much distinction creates a divide… and I find it weird that each unique individual has to separate himself/herself from a host of other roles to fit in what? A teeny tiny box called “label”?!
      Humans are weird, indeed!

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