How to kill a conversation

Today, Deb and I were at Safeway picking up a few things. We were doing our usual shtick, teasing each other. This time it was about the deviled ham[1] I had put in the cart. Deb, as a new vegetarian (again), was mocking my choice. I then made a comment about not teasing me, to which, the cashier piped up and said: “isn’t that what friends are for?” I then replied: “or partners.” Well. You would have thought I grew a third head. The air turned icy and it seemed to take forever for her to ring through the rest of our groceries.

After we were in the car we had a discussion about what had happened. I feel the need to challenge people’s assumptions about us. I have been doing it for a very long time. I resent the fact that people believe they can make assumptions about our relationship. Sometimes they see us friends, other times it is as sisters. People just never think outside of the box and consider that we might be married. I think this fact is exacerbated by the fact that we are women. Women, outside of heterosexual relations, are rarely seen as sexual beings.

All of this, of course, is about discourse. As long as we live in a hetero-normative society these kinds of assumptions will be made. We are all so busy assuming everyone is heterosexual that we do not recognize different sexual orientations. Along with the discourse of heterosexuality goes the rampant homophobia within our society. Where we live, there are not as many LGTB people as there are in Vancouver. We live very close to the bible belt and the views which are predictable of neo-Christians.

What is the answer? Well, we need to begin to challenge heterosexist views. Not everyone is heterosexual. By assuming everyone is space is not given for people to be different. This lack of space creates huge problems for youth who are different. Without role models youth have difficulty seeing LGTB people living happy, productive lives. Queer people need to become a positive part of the general discourse, i.e. magazines, TV shows, stories etc. Perhaps if we incorporate more images of queer people into our media we will start to see some positive change. Every time we challenge people’s assumptions, we start to break down barriers and make room for different kinds of relationships.


[1] I told her to blame Wander Coyote’s deviled ham sandwich picture.

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Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 8:15 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Um, well, glad to see I started something with the deviled ham, even though it’s not quite what you expected! 😀

    But I agree with you on everything you said, your final paragraph especially.

  2. C and I live openly in a small city, but we get the same kind of assumption. I think almost every time we are in White Spot they ask, Will that be separate bills? Curiously, they don’t ask that at the nice restaurants in the city. Maybe they’re more used to same-sex couples (we weren’t the only one last time we were at CRU).

    • Funnily enough we don’t get that at White Spot.

  3. I think part of opening people’s minds is doing just what you did: make the point when necessary. When it happens more and more often, along with other life experiences, people will get the point.


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