Setting Things “Straight”

| November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
photo credit: saigneurdeguerre Belgian Pride 2015 (V1) via photopin (license)

photo credit: saigneurdeguerre Belgian Pride 2015 (V1) via photopin (license)

No offense, straight people, but I’m pretty tired of you.

On second thought, I don’t really mean “no offense.” I think you deserve to hear the hard truth from your LGBTQ friends and family. You’ve been coasting by for far too long thinking that you can say anything you want as long as your intentions are good, and we’ll just take it and never call you out on it because we’re so lucky to have you as an ally. Because of course we need straight people, right?

So let’s set the record “straight” about a couple misconceptions you seem to have. First of all, we know you’re uncomfortable with us talking about our romantic lives. We see the looks you give each other, how you try to change the subject or just not ask any leading questions. We’ve sat through decades of “do whatever you want, but keep it in private.” We deserve the right to be as unapologetically disgusting and sappy as you are with your romantic partner (and you are pretty disgusting about it) without people judging or making a face. We should be able to hold hands and kiss in public in 2017.

Second of all, we see that you look down on us with pity, and we definitely do not need it. We don’t need you treating us like a charity case and priding yourself on being so accepting and having a gay friend like it’ll get you brownie points with other sympathetic straight people. There’s a reason LGBTQ people form like-minded cliques. The TV trope of the “token gay friend” is totally a myth, because I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to have to be surrounded by cisgender straight people constantly without anyone to relate to.

Third of all, we hear you when you say things that hint at a less-than-tolerant attitude. You might think you’re a hero because you’ve been so accepting and never called us any outright slurs, but the truth is that we are the accepting ones. We accept you even when you make offhand comments about our romantic life, or our outfits, or the way we present ourselves. We sit in silence and listen to the inane, ignorant things you say like it’s our job, because if we call you out you’ll just get mad at us for being “too sensitive” or “demanding too much from you.” All we demand is respect: I don’t think that’s too sensitive of us.

The next time you talk to your LGBTQ friends and family members, make an effort to listen to what you’re saying. Better yet, take a moment to really listen to what we’re saying, because I doubt you’ve really thought to put yourself in our shoes for even a couple of minutes. Being “tolerant” doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you a decent human being. Please take a moment to remember that the world isn’t all like you, and help us celebrate our differences rather than hide them behind a fake smile.


featured photo credit: alisdare1 Love is Love – a participator in London’s LGBT Pride Parade – 25 June 2016 via photopin (license)

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Category: Campus Culture, featured, Reflections, Social Activism

Charlie Scanlan

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Charlie is a journalism major in the College of Communication.

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