Ragen Chastain, of Dances with Fat blog fame, was on a conference call last night when she was asked the questions: “when you dance, do you feel you have to be better than others to overcome stereotypes?”
Her answer was phenomenal and it got me thinking about my own lesbian relationship.
Do I feel that my relationship has to be “more normal” than straight relationships to overcome any stereotypes?
The answer, for me at least, is no.
I do what I do and if I happen to challenge your stereotype of what a lesbian, or a lesbian relationship, or a lesbian in a relationship looks like, then so much the better.
In her blog post, Ragen said:
When a fat person chooses to do something, and that thing happens to challenge someone else’s stereotypes of people of our size, we are not asking for their approval, we are doing them a favor.
I think it works that way for me as well. When you meet me and I introduce Marianne as my significant other, and the world doesn’t end, or God doesn’t smite me, or you don’t spontaneously combust, you just might learn something.
Like the fact that Marianne and I are a lot like you.
And that our Saturday nights mostly consist of bad Lifetime movies on the couch. And M&Ms. And soda.
I am open about who I am at work. And I really do believe that there are some coworkers who had never met a lesbian before. I have no idea what they think of me personally nor do I really care all that much.
But it was cool when a coworker I was (unintentionally) outed to on my first day of work in June who then spent 10 minutes talking about his upcoming vacation/mission trip to some South American country asked me the other day about my upcoming wedding.
If I decide to invite coworkers to the wedding, I don’t think he’ll come. But I’m okay with that. Because I think, just by being exactly who I am (that is to say, exactly normal and boring just like everyone else), he may very well rethink his conception of a “lesbian relationship” or lesbians in general.
Back to Ragen’s point. It is not up to me as the “other” to continually challenge people’s perceptions of that other.
But it is neat when it (unintentionally) happens.