When you're part of an LGBT couple, strangers tend to go through all sorts of mental acrobatics to define your relationship. Sisters? Cousins? Best friends who enjoy holding hands across the dinner table, gazing into each other's eyes in the romantic candlelight? Recently, an LGBT couple responded on Twitter to this kind of heteronormativity when another account co-opted one of their tweets and turned it into a story about a straight couple. (Seriously.) Trust me when I say that their reaction is pure gold.
This spring, Alexa Willis and her girlfriend, Noemi, ordered custom debit cards featuring photographs of the couple together — a step beyond merely using a picture of your partner as your phone background. Willis told BuzzFeed that she and Noemi have been in a relationship for about a year, and the cards are meant as a reminder to consider each other before spending money. This is, of course, such a precious idea that every reader will wish they had thought of it themselves. When Noemi posted a photo of the cards to Twitter after they arrived in May, the tweet briefly went viral, with nearly 2,000 retweets and a general consensus that Willis and Noemi are #goals.
The Twitter account @Relationships seemed to agree. As you can probably guess from its title, the account focuses on romantic relationships, tweeting pictures of cute "good morning" texts and popular memes about being a couple. It also frequently reposts content from other users. On Saturday, the account apparently tweeted Noemi's photo of the customized bank cards without attributing her, which would be irritating enough on its own. But it took things one step further by making a tiny but significant change.
"My bf n i got customized debit cards," read the @Relationships tweet.
The photographs pretty clearly depict two women, but with the change to the caption, the tweet implies that it's about a straight couple.
No GIF could possibly capture the amount of eye rolling this tweet deserves. Not long after it was posted, though, people started to notice that things weren't as they seemed. "I think it's two girls?" wrote one user.
After that, the floodgates of mockery opened.
The reaction GIFs were truly on point.
Seriously, the finesse with which people used LGBT GIFs is impressive.
The greatest tweet of all, however, was posted after a friend tagged Willis and Noemi in the comments. After realizing the photograph of their debit cards had been used without permission and the caption altered to pretend they're a heterosexual couple, Willis decided to clear things up.
"Um this is my gf and I and we are LESBIANS," she tweeted.
With more than 82,000 retweets, her post wound up far more popular than the original post or the altered version, and it had everyone enjoying the schadenfreude.
Willis told BuzzFeed she thinks it's "very sad" that some people ignore the fact that same-sex couples exist, and she was baffled as to why @Relationships would feel the need to pretend they were a straight couple.
Most LGBT people are familiar with erasure of their relationships. For women, it's so common that the hesitance to suggest a romantic relationship has become a meme: Gal Pals. As Know Your Meme explains, these jokes are meant to spoof the media's "insistence on calling lesbians 'gal pals,'" but clearly, individuals ignore same-sex relationships too. It may not be an issue on the same level as hate crimes or discrimination, but it speaks to the way society erases queer women.
The good news is that we live in a time when it's possible for many LGBT women to announce their relationships loud and clear. Maybe one day, it won't be necessary in the first place.