The IDENTITY Project

14 #Microaggressions LGBTQ People Deal With All The Time

These comments about sexual orientation or gender identity may seem minor, but can actually be quite hurtful or offensive.

Kelsey Borresen, Huff Post

When you’re an LGBTQ person living in a heteronormative, cisnormative world, encounters of subtle discrimination, known as microaggressions, are a frustrating yet often unavoidable part of daily life.

Microaggressions are the everyday “slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages” to members of a marginalised group, according to Teachers College, Columbia University psychology professor Derald Wing Sue, who has written several books on the subject.

  1. Assuming one partner is the “man” and the other is the “woman” in queer relationships.
  2. Referring to being LGBTQ as a “choice” or “lifestyle.”
  3. Asking invasive questions about someone’s body like, “What parts do you have down there?”
  4. Telling someone that they don’t “look non-binary.”
  5. Expecting a gay person to have a certain personality or interests based on stereotypes.
  6. Asking a trans person when they’re having “the surgery.”
  7. Assuming a queer person can’t relate to straight people.
  8. Asking a lesbian how they have sex.
  9. Refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns because it’s “too hard” or “grammatically incorrect.”
  10. Asking a person if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife based on their gender expression.
  11. Thinking you can “turn” a person straight.
  12. Excluding an LGBTQ person’s partner from family activities.
  13. Speaking on behalf of LGBTQ people without letting them have a voice in the room.
  14. Asking someone you just met to share their coming out story or sexual history.

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