As I am flying back from WPATH advanced mental health training, I am thinking about how we each identify and the act of making assumptions. People can make a lot of assumptions about you when you are part of the LGBTQ community. For instance, most people assume I am a straight woman. As a queer woman, this can feel silencing.
People make assumptions about other people’s gender and sexuality all of the time and it can lead to mistrust and feeling like you have to hide yourself.
Have people made assumptions about your gender or sexuality in the past? Are people currently making assumptions about your gender or sexuality? These assumptions can make it harder for you to come out. If you have internal or hidden struggles, it can be hard to express these when people assume you are not struggling.
So, how do you navigate this? First, I always recommend trying to find someone you trust to start to talk to about your identity. This could be a good friend, a guidance counselor or mentor, or someone you have met at a support group. This could be your partner or spouse. If you can try to open up to just one affirming person, often that creates a snowball effect and makes it easier to open up to others.
If your goal isn’t to come out and you are just annoyed by the assumptions, then I would suggest keeping in mind that often when people make assumptions, they are mirroring their own experiences. Your Cisgender,straight, married, mother friend might assume that you and her have the same identity because you both have children. This doesn’t excuse these assumptions, but it might help to understand where your friends are coming from.
We still live in a cisgender heteronormative society. While it is changing, it can be frustrating for people who are part of the LGBTQ community because of all the assumptions. People still assume that when mothers are pregnant they are going to have a boy or girl that will grow up to be cisgender. Slowly though, things are changing. In more progressive areas of Atlanta and Decatur Georgia traditions such as the gender reveal parties are falling by the wayside. People are starting to ask for your pronouns in safe spaces. People are more open when we come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer. It’s possible and probable to find trusted friends that won’t make assumptions about your sexuality.
How To Get Help
If you are frustrated by the assumptions people are making about you or if you need a safe space to process coming out to friends, family, work or school, we can help. We are LGBTQ affirming therapists at True You Southeast and we help people navigate their identities every day. We understand intersectionality. We can help you by giving you a safe and caring space to talk and process your feelings and emotions. You can reach us at 404-800-7586 or by email here. You can also make an appointment online here.