I am a contributor towards The Online Citizen. This article first appeared here.
You might have come across the term ‘Coming out’. What does it mean?
It is a figure of speech used by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Also referred to as ‘Coming out of the closet’, the beginning of this process is acceptance of oneself. Following this, openness may occur with family, friends, co-workers, the community in which one lives, etc. This is a life-long process. One can ‘come out’ similarly or in a different manner to various individuals or groups at different times.
If you are a heterosexual, ‘coming out’ might like seem like an alien concept. Below is a tongue-in-cheek questionnaire developed by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., in 1977, designed to illustrate the implicit heterosexism in these same questions asked of lesbians and gays.
Heterosexism is the belief that everyone is, or should be, heterosexual. It is the belief that rights and privileges should only go to heterosexuals and that any other sexual or romantic orientation either doesn’t exist and/or is inferior to heterosexuality. Gays and lesbians experience these questions in the same way a heterosexual would.
Questions for Heterosexuals
developed by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., 1977
1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
4. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
5. Isn’t it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
6. Heterosexuals have histories of failures in gay relationships. Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection?
7. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer that?
8. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
9. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
10. Your heterosexuality doesn’t offend me as long as you don’t try to force it on me. Why do you people feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?
11. If you choose to nurture children, would you want them to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face?
12. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
13. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be what you are and keep it quiet?
14. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusive heterosexual object choice and remain unwilling to explore and develop your normal, natural, healthy, God-given homosexual potential?
15. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role-playing?
16. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?
17. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
18. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual, considering the menace of overpopulation?
19. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed with which you might be able to change if you really want to. Have you considered aversion therapy?
20. Do heterosexuals hate and/ or distrust others of their own sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?
If somebody you know is coming out to you, be neutral, non-judgmental and compassionate. We are all taught, from our youth onwards, to treat everyone with respect and this applies regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Dr. Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.