Dating a gay, lesbian or bisexual person comes with the same mistakes that can be made in any dating configuration you can imagine. However, here are a few unique issues I’ve heard in my office that you should be aware of. Of course, I’m not speaking for the whole LGBT community, but you may have come across a few of these if you are out there dating.
First, I know a lot of ignorant straight people have assumptions about dating in the LGBT community. However, I’ve been told that there is also stereotyping within the LGBT community. If you are out there dating, try to throw those preconceived roles out the door. I’ve talked to students who feel limited to certain roles because of the way they dress or act. Just because a student identifies as a butch and their date identifies as a femme or lipstick in no way means the femme should want her date to act like a man. If she wanted someone who acted like a man she would be dating one. Also, just because some gay men are very open sexually does not mean all gay men want sex and are open to it on the first date. Some gay men are looking for life partners and would rather go slowly when first dating someone new.
Just be yourself and don’t try to portray yourself as anything you are not. Not everyone is going to like the same things you do or be attracted to how you look. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise or change yourself to get a date or make them happy once you’re on the date. If you are more conservative than your date, you may have to turn them down when they want to have sex and you aren’t ready for that step yet. They may think you’re crazy, but not everyone will think that way. It pays to wait for what you really want, even if it isn’t easy.
My point is, look how you want to look and be happy with your choices, no matter what other people may think about it. If you want to sport a certain look, go for it. If you are more feminine, show it off whether you’re gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. If you love to work out and stay fit, don’t let the stereotypes stop you from being you. Do what fits you and your lifestyle. If you feel good about yourself, then you will be more confident when you are out on a date.
I also hear about assumptions being made about bisexual people. Some people feel they are truly gay or lesbian and just don’t know it yet. I also hear they are greedy and want to have sex with everyone. This isn’t always true. It also isn’t true that just because someone dated or had sex with the opposite sex before they came out that they are truly bisexual. Get to know the person before you jump to conclusions about their lifestyle. If you are bisexual, you’re the only one who really know why you do the things you do. Only you can truly define who you are. Don’t let others convince you to be something you aren’t just to make them more comfortable. Eventually, if you want to settle down, you’ll fall in love with a PERSON just like the rest of us.
It is also important when you are dating not to assume because someone looks a certain way that you know everything about them. Most students tell me they are attracted to a certain type of lesbian or gay man. They also describe being disappointed when the person they are attracted to doesn’t quite fit into their ideal mold once they get to know them. The point of dating is to find out what you like and don’t like in a person. Eventually you fall in love with a whole PERSON, not a label. You may be surprised when you fall in love with the masculine gym rat when you usually go for the more dramatic flamboyant type of gay man. Remember, there is a lot underneath the surface! Someone may look different than your usual “type” but you fall in love with their mind, how they treat you, and you love how you can talk for hours about anything. Also, don’t always assume that opposites attract. Sometimes people who are more alike in looks and hobbies find love too.
It’s the same for straight people, no book should be judged by it’s cover. Keep an open mind. The fact is that not all LGBT people are going to have the same interests, goals, and views. Your date may not care in the least what piece of legislation concerning gay rights is currently being fought in congress. Just because your date looks butch does not mean she has season tickets to the WNBA. Not every twink sings show tunes. Be open minded when looking for someone to date and you may find the person you least expected turns out to be your true ideal.