Not So Queer Friendly

Yesterday I was hanging out with a bunch of straight people and talking about burning man (I’ve never been.) There is apparently some survey afterwards you can opt to take that asks people how many new sex partners they have acquired over the festival. It differentiates between “sex” aka penetrative sex and “foreplay” which apparently also includes oral sex.

I asked why they gave this survey, was it to track STDs or something? And they said no, it seems to be more about getting a sense of the depth and type of connections people had with each other.

I made some comment like, “That’s not really very queer friendly because a lot of lesbian sex would be dismissed as foreplay by that definition.”

At which point, one of the guys said “Oh no, burning man is very queer friendly.” And I’m all, “Who are you, Mr. Straight Man to define queer friendly?” Only, I just thought that instead of said it because I was surrounded by straight people and didn’t want to make a scene.

Can any event where straight people outnumber queer ever be *really* queer friendly? We will not be able to approach the majority of people there romantically for fear of being rejected *because of our sexuality.* Sure, we don’t get beat up, but we are still seen as the “other,” as dismissed without consideration. As slightly subhuman, in a way. It’s a weird feeling, it’s hard to describe, but it’s different from being rejected (or pre-rejected) by a gay man. In my experience, most gay will still have a fundamental respect for your sexual orientation (perhaps because they also understand what it’s like to be attracted to men.) I don’t get that same feeling from straight women.

And, it is also different from being rejected by another queer woman who just isn’t into you. I guess most obviously, gay women are better about not unconsciously leading on other gay women, because they see romantic potential between two women. Straight women just don’t see romantic potential there, and I can feel really not-seen by them.

For me, in the end (perhaps as a bisexual) it always comes down to invisibility. When I told this guy “that’s not queer friendly,” he didn’t see why it wasn’t. He refused to witness my experience, and that is where most of the pain lies.