2017: A year to teach others how to respect you

Some people think verbal bullying is acceptable. It isn't.

by Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist

For 2017 I plan to hit some new topics that I just need to get off my chest. I think it is time for discussions on topics that older LGBTQ+ people find important. Our world continues to change for the LGBTQ+ community and I find it interesting how some people think verbal bullying is acceptable. Verbal bullying takes many forms and I believe we can work together to stop it.

One question that bothers me is “who is the husband and who is the wife?” This is another way for some straight people to bully LGBTQ+ people. I don’t understand why they think it is degrading? Who cares what roles each of us play in our relationships?

If we choose to use a label as husband or wife that is our choice. Neither label is negative; both labels are equal. My guess is that some straight people think one role is more important than the other. I feel sorry for straight people who don’t realize that both labels are equally important. I hope they don’t belittle their own partners based on labels.

Another topic that disturbs me is when people ask me details about my sexuality. This applies to either straight or non-straight questioners. Why do people feel that they have a right to ask me, in casual conversations, “are you a top or bottom?” Seriously, that is stepping over the line. What my partner and I do sexually in private is really not open for discussion. This topic is often a form of verbal bullying.

The question about who is top and who is bottom comes up in many settings. It’s interesting that some straight people find it funny to ask the top or bottom question. They seem to think it’s a funny way to degrade LGBTQ+ people. Honestly, how would they like to be asked “do you have oral sex or do you have anal sex with your wife/girlfriend?” These questions are examples of additional types of verbal bullying for heterosexual people.

You may be thinking I am just an old fart who is prude or something. I have discussed this topic with other people who are over 50 years old and many of them share my frustration. “Top or bottom” simply has become a regular topic of verbal bullying in our world.

What we should realize is that different generations have different comfort levels with different topics. I am on the border between baby boomer and Gen-X. I challenge other baby boomers/Gen-X LBGTQ+ people to step up and help educate others about what topics you find personal or invasive. We can be leaders and we can teach others how to treat others with respect.

The straight community needs to hear from us and we can help them understand how we think and feel. We can have open discussions with them on many topics, but our private sexual activity does not have to be a topic for discussion. We need to let them know that we won’t stand for this type of verbal bullying.

I hope my column gives you something to think about. 2017 is the year for LGBTQ+ people to be strong and stand together. We can work together to stop verbal bullying and this will make our world a better place for everyone.

It is our time to use our numbers to make our world better. Our voices matter and it is our time to show the world we won’t tolerate bullying in any form.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – January 13, 2017 @ 10:20 a.m.