Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet my Partner or Boyfriend?

by Sebastino Aviles

Language is one of the few things in life that we don’t really think about, I mean unless you’re a linguist or something like that, I consider it something that we take for granted.

That being said I’ve noticed that I catch myself changing up my language, depending on different circumstances, such as where I’m at, who I’m with, and what I’m doing.

 I’m sure everyone experiences this phenomenon all the time in their lives but do we really take the time to notice when and why we are doing it?

I believe that my language is reflected on who I am in terms of social constructions such as gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. If I use those social constructions I would describe myself as a young working class gay Latino man.

Language itself is a social construction and as a social construction it is subject to change depending on who is using it. Which brings me to my next point, as a gay man I often monitor my language depending on where I’m at, who I’m with, and who I’m talking to.

My prime example is how I change up my language is when talking to people about a significant other. Depending on who I’m talking to or where I’m at I would either call my significant other my partner or my boyfriend.

If I were to talk to a heterosexual person and I have my significant other with me I would normally introduce him as my partner, however if I’m talking to someone who belongs to the LGBTQ community or identifies as LGBTQ I would introduce him as my boyfriend.

On the other hand if I know the heterosexual person well enough like if they are a family member or a close friend I would introduce him as my boyfriend.

Once again my language would change depending on where I was at, for example if I were in a formal setting like at a reception for some event I would introduce my significant other as my partner, and if I were in an informal setting like a bar or something he would turn back into my boyfriend.

I think for me having two options as to what I call my significant other can be problematic at times because it seems that I am conforming to what other people would find acceptable and thus creating a dichotomy that doesn’t need to be there, but at the same time I feel that having two options is also important because it gives me the choice of choosing how I want to define my relationship and how I want my relationship to be perceived to myself as well as to society.

1 comment:

  1. I would reveal mine according to whom I thought deserved to know. I realize that having 2 ways of doing so creates options which are convenient, but I do like keeping folks guessing by never going in the love life direction in convos. It gives me the power and control.


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