How to be an ally to your straight friends

This is a translation of a post in Hebrew, written by my friend/lover Dan Veg (who can be found and followed on tumblr: anarchapansexual).

This post on Tumblr.

The ever increasing trend of oppression against straight people in LGBT and queer communities has been worrying any person with a fragment of a conscious left unharmed by extreme heterophobic propaganda. It’s time for us to stop it! It’s time that we learn how to stop insulting straight people, how not to question their heterosexuality, how to learn to love their privileges (Because hating is bad! And it gives you ulcers!), and in short: how to be their allies.

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Credit: superqueerartsyblog.tumblr.com

  1. Don’t tell heterophobic jokes, it isn’t funny! Joking on account of straight people, saying you hate straight people, saying that straight people annoy you, etc. are all violent actions that erase the daily oppression that straight people experience in LGBTQ communities. Avoid offensive comments against straight people just so you can release anger about the oppression that you’re forced to deal with. There are plenty enough ways to release anger about heterosexism without joking about straight people. For example, you can become addicted to drugs and alcohol, stop getting out of the house, or simply kill yourself. The most important thing is that you don’t take it out on other people just because of their privileged sexuality.
  2. Don’t forget to show appreciation. When a straight person uses your correct pronouns, don’t forget to congratulate him, hug him and kiss him. When a straight person says he supports LGBTQ rights/activism/gays/that he has some gay friends/that he even went to some gay bar once – don’t forget to congratulate and to thank him every day, every hour, and every minute. When a straight person comes to a pride march despite the fact he’s straight, don’t forget to send a singing telegram to all your friends, and a press release too. If you don’t show enough appreciation, straight people might lose interest in those things, and how will you manage then?!
  3. Be careful when you write things about the heteronorm. You’re allowed to write things against LGBT-phobia sometimes (but please don’t exaggerate, there’s a limit to how much one can listen to the whining of one narrow interest group), but you cannot criticize heterosexuality as the ruling norm. It’s both pointless and unfair towards all those who are rewarded by this system. You’re already accustomed to living as a second class person, so stfu and don’t disrupt this situation. There’s no reason why people should not assume that heterosexuality is the default, because they’re still giving LBGTQ people permission to come out of the closet. There’s no reason why society should stop teaching children that there are only straight people in the world, and to overflow popular culture with images of how relationships, identities and genders should be like; because we’re living in a liberal society, and people who really want to, can make some extra effort and freely choose whatever they want for themselves.
  4. Learn to acknowledge straight people’s privileges. And to love them. The fact that straight people have privilege doesn’t mean that those should be challenged. Learn to love straight people’s privileges, and to appreciate that despite their many privileges, they are still willing to allow you to exist. Remember that thanks to straight people’s privileges, they can also contribute much more to the LGBTQ struggle than you ever could, because as opposed to queer people, they in fact get listened to.
  5. Be clear. Lesbians, Gays, Bilingual, Taco?… All these definitions you’re making up for yourself might seriously confuse straight people (and this is terrible, because confusion creates bisexuals). Be clear and decisive in your identities and in what you say. You need to decide: Are you a man or a woman? Are you gay or straight? You must identify yourself with a clear and stable term, and you mustn’t, under any circumstances, simply change your identities every other day. This just makes it harder for straight people to keep up, and the whole point of fighting LGBT-phobia is giving straight people a chance to understand, right? Speak using straight language. Speak as if you’re straight. And for the love of god, don’t speak much.
  6. Don’t question straight people’s identity. Some people are born straight. Get over it. Don’t tell straight people that they can be cured. Don’t tell straight people that everyone should examine their identity because we were all raised to be straight, and don’t say that sexuality and gender are fluid. After all, if straight people would stop being straight, who would we admire?
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Credit: theoatmeal.com

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3 thoughts on “How to be an ally to your straight friends

  1. Pingback: how to be an ally to your straight friends | F.I.A.

  2. “Joking on account of straight people, saying you hate straight people, saying that straight people annoy you, etc. are all violent actions that erase the daily oppression that straight people experience in LGBTQ communities. Avoid offensive comments against straight people just so you can release anger about the oppression that you’re forced to deal with. There are plenty enough ways to release anger about heterosexism without joking about straight people. For example, you can become addicted to drugs and alcohol, stop getting out of the house, or simply kill yourself.”

    Why do you think the only options are hating someone else or hurting yourself? There’s a lot of difference between saying that straight people are privileged and calling straight people on their prejudice, and attacking all straight people for being straight. And if your options are hate others or hurt yourself, then you need psychiatric help.

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