The Gay Partnership: The New Standard for the Healthy Heterosexual Relationship?

By Tristan Lee-Wright

Disclaimer: First, I would like to say that not every gay relationship is the same and I would also like to say that there are healthy straight relationships that already have healthy relations. I create this post only to incite critical thinking, humanize gay relationships, and in my own way fight a form of sexism.

Certain Religions, Cultures, and Geographic areas uphold a “traditional” view of male and female romantic relationships, where the male is expected to be the dominant one, in control, and the one with sole (or most) economic support in the relationship. The woman plays the domestic subordinate role and must not undermine her husband’s authority through word and deed. In this relationship the woman has very little control of herself, her life and little economic independence. This institutionally reinforced relationship fosters dependency on the part of the female and sense of entitlement on the part of the male.

How do these rules apply to a relationship of two females or two males?

In a relationship with two people of the same gender the rules change and traditional roles become obsolete. Inherently the relationship between two people of the same sex is based on a form of equality, if you ignore certain personality variances. There aren’t as many established rules or roles for people in a gay relationship as there are for heterosexual relations. Of course one person might be more dominant and one more passive but that varies on a person’s interpersonal or relationship style.

If two men were raised in a society, culture, or faith where traditional roles were instilled then upon entering a relationship with another man with similar upbringing they might enter into a competition wanting to support the other more than they are supported. The same applies to two females raised with these values that enter into a relationship with one another, except, there might be less competition and more discussion due to taught passivity.

Ideally a relationship should be a partnership between two individuals who want to share their burden as well as rewards with one another, but at the same time it doesn’t take away from their own self sufficiency and autonomy. The problem with some “traditional” heterosexual relationships is it disempowers and dehumanizes the female by taking her voice, economic independence, and autonomy away as form of compensation (to the man) for the responsibility he is being held for. It can also create a perfect space for domestic abuse to happen.

This type of dominance can happen in any relationship (gay or straight) but it’s more prevalent in a heterosexual one do to reinforcing institutions.

Let’s equalize our romantic relationships, make them more partnerships rather than relationships because a “relationship” can be anything.

This guest post was authored by Tristan Lee-Wright. He is a Black, openly gay male who studied African American Studies, and Psychology with a minor in Social Welfare at Syracuse University.  He was introduced to activism during his attendance at Syracuse University and more specifically through the organizations Pride Union and A Men’s Issue.  Already a passionate, insightful, and observant person, the introduction to these organizations furthered his understanding, as well as curiosity, to the issues of gender, sexuality, and human rights.  He is a writer, graphic designer, singer, dancer and overall creative person.  

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3 thoughts on “The Gay Partnership: The New Standard for the Healthy Heterosexual Relationship?

  1. Hmmm…as far as I know the hetero-normative rules are mostly unspoken in same sex relationships but are expected for the most part. I rarely find couples or even singles that have a balanced mindset about relationships. I think gay people choose gender roles to normalize something that would be considered unnatural by most of society.

  2. I for one think it’s outrageous straight people are allowed to enter into civil unions. Clearly a civil union should be between two people of the same sex. The moral decay of society never ceases to shock me.

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