When I was younger, I never really cared about what other people had to say about homosexuals. But ever since my sister Sonia “came out of the closet,” I’ve been defensive about the topic. Now I can’t let the dumb remarks I hear about gay people go by without commenting on them.
Now, every time I bring friends to my house, Sonia is the first person I introduce them to. When they leave, I tell them “that’s my sister-the one who is gay.” Some of my friends just say, “Oh, she’s the one? Well, she’s nice.” But others do a double-take: “That’s her? No way, get out of here, really?!”
The people who are surprised tell me that Sonia doesn’t look gay or that she doesn’t act like a gay person. I reply, “What does a gay person look like? How are they supposed to act?” After that, all they have left to say is: “Well, you know.” I tell them, “No, I don’t know” and ask them to explain themselves.
Forget the Stereotypes
As a result, I’ve gotten into some heavy conversations about gay stereotypes with my friends. I couldn’t believe some of the ideas they had about gay people. They told me that gay women dress and look masculine. That they act like men because that’s what they want to be. Since my sister isn’t like that, she couldn’t be gay, as far as they were concerned.
I tell them that their stereotypes just aren’t true. As far as I know, my sister loves being a woman. She enjoys her femininity. Her being gay does not have anything to do with a secret desire to be a man-far from it. Sonia is gay because she enjoys the company of other women, physically as well as mentally. She’s told me that, for her, a relationship between two women is deeper than that of a woman and a man.
Another thing that a lot of my friends believe is that gay people try to get straight people to become gay. Some of my female friends think my sister will think they are attractive or will like them, relationship-wise.
Once a friend asked if she could stay at my house for a couple of days. I told her she could stay as long as she wanted but she must be comfortable with my sister. She said OK, as long as Sonia didn’t fall in love with her. I thought that was a very stupid thing for her to say. My sister doesn’t chase after straight women. So I replied with sarcasm: “You’re not her type, so please darling, don’t flatter yourself.”
Some of my friends also feel that gay people have a negative view of the opposite sex. Not true. My sister has always had men for best friends. Just because she is not attracted to them sexually does not mean that she hates men.
Keep an Open Mind
The fact that Sonia is gay will always be a part of my life. It doesn’t matter whether I bring it up or not. Friends will always be asking me, “Why is she gay?” and “How does it feel to have a gay sister?” They’ll want to tell me how they feel about gay people.
I’ve found out that even a lot of people who condemn discrimination based on race or religion or nationality act like discrimination against gay people is acceptable. Why is that? How can you be open-minded about one aspect of a person and close-minded about another? For example, even people who have been victims of discrimination themselves can be totally insensitive when it comes to gay people.
I don’t understand people like that, but I can give them a piece of advice: open your minds, your ears, and your hearts. My mother has and so have a lot of my friends. Knowing Sonia has taught them that you can’t believe stereotypes.