May 9, 2010

[Technicolor Musings] So Who's The Girl?

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We've made a lot of progress in recent years for gender equality concerns in terms of better representing women, ethnic minorities and even members of the LGBT community. While progress is different per country (or even per state), it's still safe to say that things have gotten better as compared to 10-20 years ago. Let's face it - we live in a period of history when people are concerned about discrimination more than ever before. The term "politically correct" carries a veiled threat with it, a reminder of what is now considered to be "acceptable" in terms of behavior in public or with people outside of your family circle. You know the drill.

But this isn't going to be a lengthy piece about the state of LGBT rights in the local scene or the hopes of gay marriage legislation coming to be in the Philippines anytime soon. Oh no, this is going to be about something a lot closer to home.

For this week's Technicolor Musings, we're going to discuss that fateful question that everyone one of us is bound to get the moment we declare we're in a relationship. Yes, it's THAT question, one of the more annoying and insensitive ones but it always pops up.

"So who's the 'girl'?"

Allow me to explain what I mean.

Gay RolesMany times after people discover that I'm in a relationship with another geek (who also happens to be another man), sooner or later I end up with someone asking that question. They do so in a manner that is slightly awkward yet trying to present it self as being totally innocent and nonchalant. "So who's the girl in the relationship?" or "So who does the know, like who's the 'wife' between you two?" The variations of this question go on and one forever.

This is so wrong on so many levels and it has elevated from being just a pet peeve to being a serious annoyance and at times an insult for me, depending on how the question was raised.

First, it assumes that homosexual relationships are consistently patterned against heterosexual ones. Not all relationships need to play by the rules of the heterosexual majority - that's precisely why we're different. I like guys - live with it! I'm involved with another man because of the fact that I am attracted to men and not necessarily men pretending to be women (not that this is wrong either). There are people who like that, and that's fine, but that is not the standard for all relationships is my point. We're not just role-playing or something or just playing house like how we used to as kids and perhaps one day we'll wake up and stop playing and assume heterosexual lives.

Necktie Help

Second, it also embraces stereotypes about the role of women in the home. A lot of times when people ask me the question, the include potential indicators for how one might identify who the girl in the relationship is. This normally includes asking who the household chores, who cooks or whatever. So now we're not just picking at the integrity of homosexual relationships as an alternative path to heterosexual ones, but we're not bringing up old misconceptions about women. This goes against any achievements women's liberation movements have managed over the years.

Briefcase Partner

Plus the greater irony that most of the time, the question tends to be asked by women, which doesn't make it right under any circumstances. Why embrace stereotypes like that? Why try to classify my relationship strictly by your heterosexual terms? Why assume that all homosexual relationships need to have analogs for the "roles" of the man and the woman? Do you see yourselves limited by archetypes in terms of what you should and should not do?

I wonder if this is something limited to our culture - you know, I get to say that maybe it's an Asian thing. Perhaps Westerners who live with women in a more empowered role would never think about imposing roles on homosexual relationships. Maybe they don't see that men and women need to perform certain functions in the context of the home.

So please, if you're reading this, I hope I get through to you. Please don't even think about asking your gay friends if there's "role-playing" involved or just trying to figure out who the "girl" is. It's just wrong. If the friend volunteers this information on their own, then well and good. But really, you're a lot better off not asking.

Or at the very least, don't ask me.

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1 comment:

  1. I guess it still can be a shock for others to realize how our relationship is defined not only by love but also by a greater existing level of equality between us.

    But yeah, the question can be quite frustrating at times.

    One thing I would be willing to answer though is this: If science ever allows one of us to get pregnant to bear a child genetically formed using our dna, I would gladly carry it to term.

    I love you, Rocky.