“Being what many people consider the more feminine one out of the two men in my relationship, I am sometimes asked if I am “the woman” in my relationship and my boyfriend is “the man”. I am tired of this question, and the very problematic attitude that it stems from, for two reasons:
“The first reason is that, by asking this question, someone is essentially suggesting that for a homosexual relationship to succeed it needs to be modeled on a heterosexual one, where one person identifies as a man and the other as a woman.
“The second reason is that, by thinking this is an acceptable question to ask, someone may also think – strangely – that it is acceptable to apply sexist attitudes to the relationship as well. For example, they may ask the so-called “woman” (and I have been asked this myself) if they will be “the one to stay at home and look after the children”, and if the so-called “man” will be “the one to go to work and earn the money”.
“Nobody likes to be identified as something that they’re not. I wouldn’t tell a straight man who happens to be feminine that he is “the woman” in his relationship. Equally, I wouldn’t tell a straight woman who happens to be masculine that she is “the man”. So why should I, a gay man who happens to be feminine, have to identify as “the woman”?
“I am not a woman, I am a man. The happy, long-term relationship I have shared with my boyfriend is not made up of a man and a woman, it is made up of two men. Gay men should be allowed to describe themselves and their relationships in exactly this way, without being expected by anyone to identify as anything else.”
Photo credit: Paula Akpan
Photo editing: Ming Au and Harriet Evans