My sister and I have what you could say is a very fragile and obligatory relationship. She's almost a decade younger than me and has never really tried to reach out to me in any way that isn't superficial. This used to bother me quite a bit but I've almost reached a point where I have accepted that we will never be friends, just siblings. It does disappoint me, since my other four siblings and I get along very well; but I can't force her to like me.
When my sister and I do get along enough to have a conversation, it isn't ever anything serious; it often doesn't make any sense to me what she's trying to talk about (she is 13, so maybe it's just a gap from how I acted at her age to how she acts). When we have these conversations we sometimes talk about her friends, and as a typical sibling would she mentions that she's talked about me to her friends. I don't mind this, but I do mind that she always seems to find a way to objectify my sexuality for the sake of conversation. I'm often introduced as her "gay brother" or the brother "that wears makeup" and so on -- but why? Especially knowing that I am so many other things.
Isolated, she is right - I am gay and I do enjoy some feminine things like makeup and heels and drag; however my sexuality itself is such a small part of who I am and what I do in this world; I don't want it to be solely what I'm known for. When she says this, does she believes that it's okay to diminish me to the gender I find attractive and the stereotypes that follow? This is rather upsetting since I work hard to ensure that my family understands as much as possible about the LGBTQ community.
When she says "my gay brother" she doesn't seem to think twice about what that inflicts upon me, or what image that leaves in the minds of her friends. She also neglects the fact that no other trait is described that way. Nobody says "this is my blonde brother, and that's my green eyed sister", it just doesn't work like that; so why is sexuality allowed to be used in that context? when did we stop identifying people by their personality and instead settled for stereotypes and labels like race and sexuality?
I am a writer, a blogger, a graphic artist, a nerd; so much more than just "gay". I would be more comfortable with her telling her friends something that is relevant or actually describes me as a person, but she only refers to my sexuality -- which only further enforces stereotypes within sexualities and within our culture.
It could just be that she is young and all of her peers are just as ignorant to the LGBTQ community, and that with age will come knowledge of how to treat LGBTQ people. However I fear that this is simply her not caring about how she refers to and treats others, and that this treatment extends just me and affects other people she knows. Is she hurting other people by diminishing them to a label? If she refers to me like this what about other people? At what point is it no longer a descriptor but a generalization that does more harm than good?