Unpopular opinion: straight people using “partner” to refer to their SO actually helps normalize the term so that lgbt folx can use it without automatically outing themselves to strangers. It also helps other straight ppl get comfortable with the fact that strangers aren’t entitled to information about other people’s gender or sexuality.

Give op their hard-earned notes

Tbh I hear “partner” and assume gay, I didn’t know straights used it. Very fair point, OP

I hear ‘partner’ and think ‘gay’ too. A girl at work used it for months and I just went with it. When she would say ‘he’ I even thought maybe he was trans*. Anyways, someone using partner makes me more comfortable and I came out to her. She was just an intelligent straight girl that liked the term and was knowledgeable in human sexuality so definitely someone I should have felt comfortable coming out too. It’s a good sign of a straight person uses it IMO.

As a mental health clinician, this is actually my blanket term when discussing any romantic relationship. I agree it normalizes it, but I also think it’s a relatively safe term to use to describe most romantic relationships without making any assumptions about the person’s orientation or identity. I also use the word “partnered” when describing a monogamous relationship status.

The term “partner” also removes the implied hierarchy of boyfriend/girlfriend vs husband/wife. This is relevant both to non-monogamous people, and unmarried individuals for whom the importance of their relationship isn’t dictated by its legal status. 

also you can make cowboy jokes

“Partner” has been used by and for straight people in Australia since at least the 1990s. I only recently learned of this peculiar culture difference!

Is this an American thing? Because I’ve definitely heard used in both contexts often enough that I certainly wouldn’t assume the sex of anyone involved based purely off the use of the word.