I'm No Gay Ambassador

2 min
at 11:43 PM

My girlfriend and I were sitting in the back row of a BART train. We were goofing around: laughing, chatting and sneaking kisses. Then, a middle-aged guy turned around and began questioning us.

"Excuse me, how old are you girls?" he asked.

At first, I thought he was about to hit on us and I wanted to make sure he knew we were underage.

"We're 16," I told him.

But then the conversation took a different turn. " You're so young, how do you really know that you're gay?" he asked us. "Have you ever been with a man?" We put up with his meddling for a while, until my girlfriend finally said it was none of his business.

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That's not the first time a stranger has asked me about my sexuality. Every time someone persists with: "Who's the man in the relationship?", "Are you just doing this for attention?" a part of me gets furious. I mean, the audacity of them not believing me. It's like they need some sort of scientific explanation about who I like!

Of course I never tell them exactly how their questions make me feel or how tired I am of explaining myself. I just calmly say why it's not okay to demand an explanation of someone's sexuality.

When I hold my girlfriend's hand in public, it's not an invitation to ask me questions about my personal life. I'm not a spokesperson for the queer community.

I get that in order to break down barriers you have to engage in a conversation that may not be comfortable -- that's how progress is made. But when I'm put in the position of being an ambassador for the queer community, it feels less like a conversation, and more like an invasion into my personal life.

With a Perspective, I'm Amanda Agustin.

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17-year-old Amanda Agustin lives in San Ramon. Her Perspective was produced by OutLoud, a project of Youth Radio.

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