Nonbinary folks are pointing out the problem with dating cishet men

A romantic partner is meant to be someone who knows you better than anybody — but for nonbinary folks, even long-term partners often don’t acknowledge or respect their identities, particularly when those partners identify as cis, straight men deep into the relationship.

The latest discourse around this all-too-common problem started with a story from a user on X named Mae. “Not my cis man roommate misgendering his nonbinary partner when he’s talking about them to me in their absence,” they wrote in a now viral post. “They’ve been together for almost 4 years.”

Other nonbinary folks used Mae’s story as a jumping off point to share their own experiences dating cishet men, all revolving around one common theme: Those boyfriends still considered themselves straight even when dating people who weren’t women, meaning they didn’t seem to actually respect nonbinary identity.

“Shoutout to the cishet guy I used to work with who told me his nonbinary partner didn’t make him any less straight,” one person commented.

“I will never forget when my cis boyfriend of a few months felt comfortable telling me that he didn’t see me as nonbinary, just a girl,” shared another. “Then got upset when I immediately broke up with him.”

Others pointed out that sometimes, nonbinary folks will let themselves be misgendered rather than end the relationship — a choice that nobody should be obligated to make. Mae themself chimed in on this angle, writing, “There are enough nonbinary people that experience dating a man and slowly regressing back into she/her pronouns because they know their identity isn’t respected or even seen due to this behavior.”

Like any sexuality label, “straight” has no concrete definition. It’s not uncommon for people who call themselves straight to enter relationships with nonbinary folks, but it ought to come with a reconsideration of what that label means to them. In a relationship, respect is everything — and that includes respecting someone’s gender identity, whatever it may be.

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