I had my first experience in training in 1996 when I was an instructor at what’s now Bentley University while earning my Masters’s Degree. In the brief training I had before getting unleashed upon five groups of mostly first-semester freshmen, something stuck out in my mind. The syllabus that I was to hand out to my students noted that the only dumb questions were the ones that were never asked. The point of it was that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask a question out of fear that you’ll look dumb. I get it — and even bought it, for a little bit. But then after fielding some of these questions, I realized that some questions were better off not being asked.

I was reminded of this recently when someone asked me the very question that is the title of this post. It was in response to my review of the book “How to Be a Gentleman.” At first, I thought it was a dumb question. Phrases like “being open-minded” popped into my head and I decided to be open-minded about the question and my answer. And guess what? It’s actually an interesting question that warrants a legitimate response.

The simple answer is “of course” — a gentleman should hold the door for any person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification. Today’s society is so much different than it was even ten years ago.  Behavior tolerated in the typical office just a few decades ago is now considered sexual harassment. And of course, people are more comfortable coming forward if they are in a non-traditional relationship. I live in Massachusetts, the first state to allow same-sex marriage, so a wedding ring these days doesn’t automatically mean that a person is in a heterosexual relationship.

So what does all this mean? The bottom line is that you should be polite and respectful to everyone — men, women, and children. If someone is following me into a building, especially if they are carrying something, I hold the door regardless of gender. I’ll even help them if they are having difficulty carrying their load. Manners and respect never go out of style — no matter how society evolves. And we all appreciate that helping hand from a stranger when we need it.

Should a Gentleman Hold the Door for a Lesbian?
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One thought on “Should a Gentleman Hold the Door for a Lesbian?

  • October 26, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I like your take on this topic and I agree that no matter what a person’s sexual orientation is, people should continue to be respectful towards one another. Now I know the subject is on whether or not a gentleman should open a door for a lesbian, but of course nowadays you have a woman holding a door for the man; which you mentioned because women are becoming more independent and “demand” fair equality. With that being said, should a man still continue to open the door for a woman?

    The reason I ask is because from day to day basis, you will meet a woman who will say, “Thank you” to someone who’s held the door open for them; however, you will also meet a woman who will say, “Thanks, but I can do it myself.” With that being said, would it be acceptable for a woman to open the door for the man next time?

    And I know I kind of went off on a tangent on the response, so I’ll get back to your question. The answer is, “Yes.” Despite her sexual orientation, if you have the proper upbringing you couldn’t possibly just walk in/out of the building have the door slam on someone’s face; let alone a woman. But let me just put this out there, since woman are demanding for equality, how do some men feel about taking “equality” to the letter?

    For example, I met up with my personal trainer, who does believe in equality. And during one training session of self-defense, he actually hit me as we were practicing for blocks and hits. His co-trainer rang the bell, stood up, and said, “That’s unacceptable. You weren’t supposed to HIT her.” To which my trainer responded, “If women want equality, this is what equality is. In the realistic world a guy who’s going to attack a woman won’t say to himself, ‘Oh you’re a girl. I should go easy.’ They want equality. This is it.”

    And I’m not trying to imply that a guy should be allowed to hit a woman. (But wait, is it right to hit a guy a back?) The idea I was trying to point is with the time changing, we shouldn’t be asking, “Should I hold the door for her because she’s a lesbian?” or say, “He should be paying the bill.” It’s more of, “Hey, this person’s behind me. I’m already here, holding the door open. Why the heck not hold the door open for them?” Period. Whether they say thanks or not, whether people think you’re following the “stereotypical norms,” at least you feel great.

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