"So... which one of you is the man in the relationship?" Skip to the content

"So… which one of you is the man in the relationship?"

This blog post comes from a conversation I was having with a fellow lesbian. I was interviewing her for my 30 days – 30 voices – stories from America’s LGBT business leaders podcast project. I was telling her about my book called “But You Don’t Look Gay…”, and I was explaining to her how I came up with the title of the book. Which is because it is one of the many expressions I hear often enough to merit a discussion and educational lesson around. Within three seconds she rattled off a handful of others, the best out of the bunch being, “So… which one of you is the man?” Such a delightfully uncomfortable question many lesbians have been asked.


Whenever I write a blog I do some research around the subject and will often start by Googling the topic. When I Googled this phrase this great quote came up from comedian, Mae Martin.

“Asking a lesbian couple ‘which one of you is the man in the relationship’ is like asking a vegetarian ‘which one of those vegetables
is the pork chop in this salad?'”

The definition of being a lesbian is a women being attracted to or in a relationship with another woman. Why must there be a need for someone to be the ‘man’ in the relationship? If the question is being asked because of the societal need for one woman in a relationship to be the ‘manly one’ and one needing to be the ‘feminine one’ then that is playing into poor stereotypes. You don’t want to find yourself perpetuating poor stereotypes in any setting, especially business.

I feel there isn’t much more to say about this phrase than what Mae stated. It seems like the most random question ever when you apply it to vegetarians, doesn’t it? As always, if you are guilty of having asked this in the past. It is okay. Now you understand that no one appreciates being asked this question and you can avoid asking this in future conversations.

If you are you looking for more information on how to communicate with the LGBT community, take a moment to check out my book, “But You Don’t Look Gay…” click here for more information!


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About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

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