I've come from a conservative country. The lgbtq+ is widely accepted but homophobia is still very prominent as my country is "religious".
Nowadays, when you get closer to a group of people, it is somehow unavoidable that the topic of sexual orientation would come up. Personally, I think I'm Panromantic Asexual. This information is not shared to anybody but me and strangers from the net.
My question is, how do I respond to, "Are you gay?" when I'm not really comfortable answering such question. I don't wanna be impolite or ruin the mood as I know that they might be asking out of curiosity.
Thank you for reaching out and sharing your situation. It must be difficult to navigate these conversations in an environment that isn’t accepting of your identity.
I want to let you know that you have every right to keep any part of your identity private. You don’t have to disclose anything that feels uncomfortable. It’s perfectly okay to decline to answer those questions, and you should never feel pressured or obligated to share anything. You get to share your identity on your terms, and the people around you should respect that.
It’s admirable that you value others’ curiosity, and I understand not wanting to upset anyone with your response. There are many ways to respond while still maintaining your boundaries. For example, you can politely express that you simply do not like discussing your romantic life. You could say something along the lines of, “It’s a personal subject for me, and I don’t feel like talking about it at the moment.” Responses like these help maintain your boundaries while still being polite to and respectful of the other person.
You may also find it helpful to redirect the conversation in some way. Try to say something like, “I appreciate your curiosity, but I'm not comfortable discussing my romantic life. Do you mind if we talk about something else?” Remember, it's important to prioritize your own comfort in any conversation. If someone continues to ask for information after you've said no, then it may be helpful to set firmer boundaries.
If you're struggling with redirecting conversations that make you uncomfortable, you can look at some of the helpful tips in this article: https://tinyurl.com/bder26fa.
The following articles may also help you establish conversational boundaries if you find yourself looking for more strategies on how to navigate difficult situations more compassionately: https://tinyurl.com/39zvfses; https://tinyurl.com/yvjbkxmb.
This video may also be helpful with better understanding conversational boundaries. You can also translate closed captions into many different languages! https://youtu.be/tEhnO4nd2Mw?t=45.
Ultimately, how you choose to respond, even if it’s not disclosing your sexuality, depends on how comfortable and safe you feel. It’s understandable that living in a conservative country may contribute to your not wanting to disclose. Always prioritize your well-being and safety above how you may make others feel. Only share what feels right for you. If you don't feel safe, it's okay to end the conversation altogether.
This website provides a directory of helplines and resources around the world. If you are in need of any additional or immediate support, this link can connect you to a local helpline: https://findahelpline.com/i/iasp.
However you choose to respond, you are valid and deserving of love and respect. You have the right to share as much or as little information as you’d like. Stay true to yourself and trust your instincts, and remember that there’s a supportive community here for you whenever you need it!