Will be participating in a workshop on microaggressions on Friday. The preparation for it has got me thinking about whether I more often experience microaggressions regarding my race or my sexual orientation.
I also realized that I was guilty of directing a microaggression at a dinner last weekend. I met a woman who is an international student from Sub-Saharan Africa studying engineering. I made a comment that ran something like, “Oh wow! That’s great, props to you for being a woman of color in that field.” I meant it as a compliment, to highlight how I was aware of how that field is dominated by white and Asian men, but now that I reflect on it I don’t think my comment was appropriate. In the very least, I could have worded it differently so it could not have come off as me saying, “Oh wow, you’re Black AND a girl, and you’re doing engineering?! How unusual!” Which I’m afraid it did. On the surface, the comment is not malicious, but I thought about how I would feel if someone I just met’s first response to my field of work was to comment on my race and gender. And I realized that that’s probably not the reaction I would want to hear to a simple question like “So what do you do/study?”
You shouldn’t feel guilty! I think you are in a tough position, because in the youth-centric gay culture, anyone over a certain age is instantly construed in a certain way. It is especially difficult to avoid judgment if you are an older GWM dating an Asian man. I’m not going to pretend that I have not been guilty of judging older GWM who flirt or make a move on me and being quick to label them a rice queen. Again, people are quick to jump to labels, and I am still learning to avoid using them as the primary lens with which I view interracial and same-race pairings. They are convenient but as your message pointed out, they can unfairly reduce a loving relationship into something it is not.
Happy to hear you are in a loving long term relationship. The gay male community always needs more of those. Thanks for reading, “Anonymous”!
I can’t help it, I find the process of getting to know a new guy I’m dating intoxicating. The excitement of mutual attraction and cute little gestures turns me more putty-like than I would like to admit. A gentle brush of my cheek from his fingers and suddenly I’m not the tough guy in my leather jacket I pretend to be in my head.
Oh, and kisses while sitting in front of this view don’t hurt either:
God Bless California
Things don’t always work out in the end, but for now “I Don’t Care” by Elle Varner is my personal soundtrack.