When I do training I equate microaggressions to a leaky faucet, it is not the first drip that gets to you but rather the constant dripping. The same is true for microaggressions in the LGBTQ+ community.
These comments about sexual orientation or gender identity may seem minor, but can actually be quite hurtful or offensive.Huffington PostBy Kelsey BorresenJune 11, 2021When you’re an LGBTQ person living in a heteronormative, cisnormative world, encounters of subtle discrimination, known as microaggressions, are a frustrating yet often unavoidable part of daily life.Microaggressions are the everyday “slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages” to members of a marginalized group, according to Columbia University psychology professor Derald Wing Sue, who has written several books on the subject.The term microaggression was first coined in the 1970s by Chester M. Pierce — a Black Harvard psychiatrist — in relation to the more insidious forms of racism that Black people face. In the years since, the concept has been applied to other folks of color, women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and other groups.
It is the dripping faucet… “Okay ‘SIR’” It is the dripping faucet of when every employee of the restaurant has to peek out the door into the dinning room to see the “Trannies.”
The article list some of the microaggressions…
1. Assuming one partner is the “man” and the other is the “woman” in queer relationships.2. Referring to being LGBTQ as a “choice” or “lifestyle.”3. Asking invasive questions about someone’s body like, “What parts do you have down there?”4. Telling someone that they don’t “look non-binary.”5. Expecting a gay person to have a certain personality or interests based on stereotypes.6. Asking a trans person when they’re having “the surgery.”
7. Assuming a queer person can’t relate to straight people.8. Asking a lesbian how they have sex.9. Refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns because it’s “too hard” or “grammatically incorrect.”10. Asking a person if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife based on their gender expression.11. Thinking you can “turn” a person straight.12. Excluding an LGBTQ person’s partner from family activities.13. Speaking on behalf of LGBTQ people without letting them have a voice in the room.14. Asking someone you just met to share their coming out story or sexual history.
How many of these have you been hit with?
I had six of them thrown at me. I don’t how many times that I have been on a panel when a gay or a lesbian answers a question about being trans.
The article also talks about defenses to microaggressions.
How To Respond To A MicroaggressionShould you ignore it? Roll your eyes? Confront it now while it’s fresh? Or say something later on after you’ve had time to process what happened? That’s really your call and depends on the circumstances. First, take your physical safety into account. If that’s not an issue, consider, too, your relationship to the offender, the setting (you might choose to handle a microaggression in the workplace differently than you would at a backyard barbecue with friends) and whether you have the emotional bandwidth to have the conversation.If you do want to say something in the moment, one simple strategy is to ask, “What do you mean by that?”“Sometimes when people make microaggressive comments, they may not even be aware that what they said was problematic,” Nadal said. “But asking them to clarify gives them an opportunity to hear or reflect on what they just said, perhaps correct themselves or even apologize.”
There was a video clip that was making its rounds on the internet where a trans woman pushes over a display rack in a store after a clerk misgendered her, the conservatives labeled her as just another angry trans person. I got asked about her in a training and my answer what lead up to the outburst, how many times that day did she face microaggressions?
Drip, drip, drip.
How many of those 14 microaggressions have you faced?