Cishet Allies — Do Better

Understanding some simple rules

As a queer, gender non-conforming individual, life can sometimes be exhausting. Quite frankly, some people really do not know how to be respectful of the LGBTQ community and offer helpful support. So, in the spirit of Dua Lipa, I would like to propose some “new rules” for cisgender heterosexual people regarding how they interact with the LGBTQ community. I would like to add that I do not speak for all LGBTQ people, and not everyone may agree that these “rules” are the most important, or even that I explained them correctly at all. I would also like to clarify that none of these rules are actually new — but the majority of people still do not follow them. Without further ado, here are my three “new rules” for cis straight people:

1. Do not be offended if someone thinks you are gay/trans/etc.

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Please ask yourself — why are you so upset? Reacting negatively reinforces the idea that being queer is undesirable. The time has long passed for people to unlearn their internal adversity towards queer and trans people. If you can’t even fathom someone mistaking you for [being an] LGBTQ [person] — then how are you treating those who actually are? Check in with yourself and address the root of your intolerance.

2. Parents: it is not enough to “tolerate” your child.

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Go a step further, and undeniably accept and support your child. If you wish your child were cisgender or heterosexual, that is not good enough. If you want to change your child’s identity, then you have not fully accepted them, and quite frankly want to eliminate a huge part of what makes them who they are. I do not want to change who I am, even if it would make my life “easier,” so you shouldn’t either.

3. Please chill out at Pride.

I am not saying that cisgender, heterosexual people cannot attend Pride — all I am saying is that I wish they wouldn’t make it all about themselves. Part of being an ally is knowing when to step up, and more importantly, when to take a step back. If you want to show your support, that’s fantastic, but don’t speak over queer and trans people or go without a purpose. Before attending Pride, ask yourself: do you understand the modern struggles of LGBTQ people? What about the historical struggles? Do you know how Pride started? What do you do to actively support the community — especially its most vulnerable? Do you support all LGBTQ people — or just the ones that are attractive to you? If any of your answers are no — consider educating yourself before you sport a rainbow bikini with your gal pals for a photo op at an event that started as a means to liberate queer and trans people. Pride was not started as a “celebration for everyone to love who they love”— it was an act of protest against the oppression that LGBTQ people face.

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