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However, he still refers to himself as straight, which I find frustrating and invalidating

However, he still refers to himself as straight, which I find frustrating and invalidating

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“I’m frustrated that my partner calls himself “straight”

Q: “My partner and I have been together for three years, and for the most part things are good. When we met, I was going by she/her pronouns, but about two years ago I came out as non-binary and started to use they/them. My partner – who is a cis man – has been supportive. He had a little trouble with my pronouns at first, but he’s adjusted and makes sure to gently correct others if they misgender me. He’s learned to never refer to me as a woman, and to call me his partner instead of girlfriend, so I feel like I should just be grateful. It’s like he doesn’t really understand who I am or is ignoring significant parts of my identity. Should I just be glad that he’s generally supportive and try to get over it? Or is this erasure and something he needs to change?”

When we ask someone, “what is your sexual orientation?” we often hear back “gay,” “straight,” “bisexual,” or something that describes only one facet of attraction: how my gender compares to the gender of the people I fuck. It says nothing about what that attraction entails, what the sex looks like or how it fits into my romantic life. If your cis male partner says he’s straight, that tells me little about what he finds attractive in a person or the relevance of his sexuality to the rest of him as a person.

Labels are shortcuts – they help me find my people and suggest a little about what my life is like to someone new. Categorization and schemas reduce how hard we have to think about every interaction, so we often use these quick, simple signals. The downside is they don’t leave room for nuance and encourage thinking in stereotypes.

Further, for those of us who realize we’re queer, polyamorous, trans, or otherwise “different” from the cis straight vanilla relationship escalator to y, we have had time to think about our desires, fears, and hopes around gender and sexuality. Most LGBTQ people spend years contemplating their identities before sharing with others. But for a cis straight person, even one who is open-minded and an ally, there’s a lot of inertia and social pressure that means never having to really contemplate one’s labels.

When your partner says he’s straight, it is not likely an intentional refutation of you. It probably means that he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about this or how invalidating that feels to you. It’s probably an indicator that he’s historically been attracted to women. From an apologetics standpoint: one can even make the argument that being hetero is por que as mulheres mexicano sГЈo tГЈo sexy simply attraction to a gender different than your own.

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My suggestion is that you speak openly and honestly with this person whom you love, who also cares for you. Share what you feel, ask him what his labels mean to him and maybe what will emerge is that these words aren’t really the summation of your relationship.

In the meantime, I asked non-binary, agender and other folks to share their experiences with this dynamic. Here are a few responses:

“Been there. I have no right to tell anyone what their sexual orientation is regardless of my gender identity. However, it doesn’t feel great when your cis partner identifies as heterosexual. I have also kind of come to terms with the fact that no cis het male will see me the way I see me or want to be seen. They will always want the femme parts of me, they will tolerate/accept the others or fetishize them.” – Astrid

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