10 Things Queer People Want You To Stop Doing


Like any majority group, almost anything a straight or cisgender person does is considered the “norm” or a regular part of society, while queers are othered. But so much of these cultural norms just center on heterosexuals—particularly cisgender heterosexuals—and much of it is, quite frankly, unhealthy. One of the reasons I struggled with navigating my bisexual identity was because of these preconceived notions. 

With that being said, here are ten misconceptions about queer people that we should unlearn as soon as possible:

1. Talk poorly about your significant other.

What’s with the “I hate my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend” jokes? Even if it’s supposed to be a joke, it comes across as rude and baffling nine out of ten times. If you hate someone that much, then why are you dating? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your relationship.

2. Act like men and women are two different species.

Why do so many straight and cis people act like women and men are from different planets? People say things like, “I don’t understand guys/girls.” They also give guides on how to understand your opposite-gendered significant other. At best, it’s an outdated notion; at worst, it’s cisnormative and reinforces the gender binary.

3. Lament how they’re “trapped” in monogamous relationships.

I’ve noticed way too many straight people act like long-term monogamous relationships or marriages are prison sentences. I hear a lot of jokes from people, particularly men, about not being “free” anymore after getting into a committed relationship. Aside from polyamory being a thing, I would reconsider a relationship if it makes you feel suffocated.

4. Act like the gender police.

A woman proposing to a man, or a man taking on a woman’s last name, is considered “odd” and not the norm among many straight, cisgender people. And anytime someone breaks a gender norm, someone jumps in to criticize it. Gender norms are social constructs, and they shouldn’t determine how you view or behave in a relationship.

5. Make a big deal of a child’s gender.

Too many cisgender people care way too much about their kid’s assigned gender. You don’t know who your kid is yet or if they’ll even grow up to be cisgender. Thinking otherwise reinforces gender stereotypes, not to mention it can feel stifling to your child. Any good parent will love their kid for who they are, regardless of gender.

6. Assume gay people are into you.

It’s not as much of a problem now, but I’ve heard too many people act this way when a friend comes out. “Just don’t hit on me,” they say, as if someone will hit on you just because you’re the same gender. Like any sexuality, we’re not attracted to everyone of the same gender. Queer people have preferences just like everyone else. It does us a disservice if you believe otherwise.

7. Ask gay people about their sex life.

Some straight people just ask stuff like, “How do you have sex with another girl?” That’s super personal, regardless of your sexuality! I understand being curious about someone different from you to an extent, but consider how personal your questions are. If you feel awkward asking or would feel uncomfortable if someone else asked you the same, you probably should rethink your question.

8. Treat queer people like they’re part of some “diversity agenda.”

I can’t count the number of times a person doesn’t bat an eye when two straight people kiss. But when two gay people kiss, it’s “inappropriate” for kids to see, “forcing an agenda” down the viewers’ throats, or “pandering” to the gays. I don’t think I need to say much more than that is very queerphobic, and we could do with less (hopefully none!) of it moving forward.

9. Think your “gaydar” works well.

You can’t tell by looking at someone if they’re gay or queer. The idea of a “gaydar” is almost entirely based on stereotypes, and it does people a disservice. We’re all complex, unique beings who live our own lives and don’t conform to others’ assumptions.

10. Assume everyone’s straight.

Heteronormativity dictates that we assume everyone is straight until proven not, the same way that cisnormativity dictates that everyone is cisgender until proven not. While queer people are in the minority, that doesn’t mean we don’t exist. Many of us do; you just don’t know it. And that doesn’t account for those who haven’t come out. 

Queer people became more visible over the years, but there’s still a lot of work left. And much of that work requires untangling stereotypes we’ve believed growing up. By taking the time to reexamine the prejudices we’ve been taught, we can be better allies to everyone and truly appreciate the diversity that is humanity.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash


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