I have a problem with the term “ally”, meaning one who supports LGBTQ people and is not a
bigoted jerkwad homophobe/heterosexist/cissexist/whatever kind of assholery one may choose to indulge in. If you want to know why, read this. It covers most of the points I could talk about, but I have a few more ideas.
The point of being an LGBTQ activist or ally is working to make the world a place that isn’t homophobic/heterosexist/cissexist (I’m just going to write homophobic from now on for speed but I mean all those good things). By world, we don’t mean, “whatever people decide to think that. We’ll just let those homophobic nutjobs do whatever they want”. By world, we mean everyone. We want to make the world a safe, fair and equal place for everyone, and have a world where, ideally, no one is homophobic. The term “ally” separates out straight and cisgender people who are not homophobic from those who are.
Fighting homophobia– ur doin it wrong.
Let’s get this straight. Actually, let’s get this queer. Being an ally and calling yourself an ally does not make you a bad person in my book. I appreciate you. I appreciate that you are not a brainwashed psycho clone who thinks the gays cause earthquakes by getting married (“I now pronounce you wife and w–AHHH!”). So “allies”, don’t take this the wrong way when I say that being straight and O.K. with gay people shouldn’t be special.
If a straight/cis person is working extremely actively to create awareness among straight/cis communities, raise visibility and make safe places for everyone, that is flipping fantastic. You deserve a big hug. Also, I will take you out to ice cream as soon as I’m not broke. But being, like, totally cool with gays! And having gay friends! Really isn’t that special.
We are working towards a world where that is the norm. Sadly, right now that is not always the norm. But being straight/cis and an “ally” (translation: You acknowledge that we’re both human beings even though you haven’t hopped on the Rainbow Train to GayVille yet) doesn’t really mean you’re… doing much. Sure, you don’t cross yourself whenever your trans pal comes around but that isn’t really an accomplishment in and of itself. You are just being a decent human being. Do you see what I’m saying?
Another point brought up in the article I linked to is that it just seems downright appropriative to make oppression you don’t feel a part of your identity. Everyone likes a revolution! And feeling righteous! (I know I do) And revolution+righteousness+rainbow flags=explosion of gay unicorn-dolphin epicness. But the thing about LGBTQ pride is that it’s needed because if someone doesn’t tell all the babygays like me it’s O.K., no one will.* Every single day is freaking straight pride day. Every single day the world (except giraffes! Giraffes are totally gay.**) is bombarded with images of straight/cis people with a few exceptions, most of them stereotypical and flat representations. Every single day there is someone who would tell me that I’m an abomination and that I should die.
It’s not fun, but that’s oppression for ya! *sarcastic grin and thumbs up* And yes, most people have some kind of privilege, whether it be white, male, straight, class, etc. A lot of people have some kind of oppression. But you can never completely understand someone else’s oppression– I, for instance, may be gay, and I may believe in/try to work towards social justice for everyone but I’ll never know exactly what it’s like to have someone look at me differently because of my skin color. Just as straight people will never know exactly what it’s like to feel awkward when you can’t say you don’t want to watch the freaking rom-com because you are SO SICK OF STRAIGHT ROMANCES IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY JAKE GYLLENHAAL ISN’T EVEN THAT CUTE. Sorry. I get touchy about rom-coms. But even if you’re straight/cis and want to help LGBTQ people out? You’re still not oppressed. You are not an asshole, but there is no oppression there. How can you make an identity out of something that isn’t there?
Let me know what you think. This post might not be that coherent, I’m writing this late at night and I’ve been running on little to no sleep this week.
*That was a stupid sentence. “If someone doesn’t do it, no one will!” No shit, Sherlock.
**80% of giraffe sex is gaaaaaayyyy. Tell that to the next person who tells you gayness is unnatural and God did not create us that way. “So, why did he make the giraffes that way?”