This is why it pisses me off when people try to dismiss other people's experience of falling in love. That sense of exultation should never have to be tarnished with fear of being hurt or judged or otherwise made to feel less. (And this post is not intended to diminish the experience of asexual or aromantic people, who also deserve to be be happy, comfortable and judgment-free.) I don't care why people feel they have the right to quash love that doesn't fall into the cis-hetero-allo box, they don't have the right to hurt others.
I've gotten into a number of arguments over the years with people who don't see themselves as spreading pain and hatred because they don't associate their own words, actions, and reactions with the more virulent and violent forms of bigotry. And there is a point in saying that assuming that two men checking into a hotel must want two beds is not the same as shooting people in a gay club. Okay, not the same. But both are still harmful.
Imagine how exhausting and demoralizing it must be to have to constantly be prepared to justify oneself. To not be sure whether or not someone's rejection of you will be supported by those in authority and the public around you. To constantly hear dismissals, insults presented as crappy jokes, and outright mean comments. And even worse, all that negativity is aimed at one of the happiest parts of your life: the person that you love and the connection between the two of you (or more, to include those who are polyamorous).
Tackling hatred can feel overwhelming but there are some things we all can do. First and most important, educate ourselves. Know what you're talking about in terms of homosexuality, heterosexuality, pansexuality, bisexuality (and any other prefixes you run across). And the best way to educate yourself is to listen to those who wear those labels.
Be willing to speak up against the crappy jokes and casual insults. Don't wait to see if someone else is offended. And don't expect someone else to carry all the weight of explaining why that's a problem.
Be representative in your language and examples. This one is surprisingly hard and not everyone is always going to be happy with what you use. But to give an example, you can avoid reinforcing a false gender binary by using "they" instead of "he/she". It's small, but sometimes it can help.
And last but not least, remind yourself that people's relationships are not actually your business. If someone chooses to share, that's great (and you can be supportive). But otherwise, the odds are good that you don't actually need to know whether or not two people are roommates, lovers, friends, siblings, or married. By being accepting, then you can avoid reinforcing stereotypes and certainly avoid pushing someone beyond their comfort levels.
Then maybe we can work our way to a point where no one has to worry about who they fall in love with and they can just get on with enjoying it.
Here comes the shameless plugging: I've just released book 4 of my Lalassu series about a secret society of superheroes living among us and if you'd like to check out book 1, now you can do so for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
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