Why when a gay person hits on a straight person, it’s a big conflict. Why can’t you just say no, I don’t go that way? Why don’t you accept people for the way they are instead of joking on them or cracking on them?

Good question! A more respectful way to handle the situation is to simply say, “Sorry, I’m not interested,” or “I’m flattered, but I’m not gay.”

Anyone — straight or gay — should always be treated with respect, especially when being turned down. Straight people who fear that other people may think they’re gay need to know that it’s not an insult to be thought of as gay, and people don’t need to feel threatened or embarrassed or overly defensive to try to “prove” that they’re not gay.

In our society there’s a tremendous amount of fear and hatred of people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This fear is called homophobia. It’s caused by ignorance, or misinformation and a lack of understanding about what gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are really like.

Being different from society’s sexual norms can be very difficult in our culture. Most people who are homophobic are worried about their own sexuality and project that fear on others. Accepting people, and ourselves, for being who we are is exactly the right attitude.