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?