September 29, 2012

Dear Straight Ally

(When you check your mail, you find a sparkly rainbow envelope with balloons attached. It's from Gay Agenda and addressed to Straight Ally. What could it be? Is it an invitation to be a guest speaker at an HRC Gala? An offer to be on a panel for Straight Allies? A million dollars? As you open the neatly folded letter, you find a letter that reads as follows . . . )

Dear Straight Ally*,

After careful review, the Gay Agenda has decided the following traits no longer qualify an individual for Straight Ally status:

  • Having an LGBTQ friend/co-worker/relative
  • Not beating up an LGBTQ person
  • Refusing to use slurs referring to LGBTQ people
  • Supporting gay marriage or ENDA
  • Taking a course in queer studies
  • Using the appropriate gender pronoun for a trans* person
  • Any honors or endorsements received from Gay, Inc.

After much consideration, the Gay Agenda has determined that the above characteristics (except the classwork and endorsement by Gay, Inc.) meet the bare minimum criteria for Decent Human Being. Although we appreciate all the Decent Human Beings in our lives, for organizing purposes, we realize that simply being decent is not enough considering all the things affecting our community, particularly those of us who are not affluent, photogenic, cisgender White guys.

Fortunately, this doesn't mean your Straight Ally status is in jeopardy! There are a few other determining factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Demonstrating your commitment to unlearning your own internalized heterosexism/homophobia and cissexism/transphobia
  • Using your voice and your resources to uplift LGBTQ voices rather than talking over us
  • How mindful you are about the ways you participate in and benefit from LGBTQ oppression
  • Going beyond personal attitudes to challenge the institutions and structures that exploit, abuse, oppress, and erase LGBTQ people
  • Responding to critique by LGBTQ people not with defensiveness but with an effort to better understand
  • Remembering LGBTQ organizing beyond HRC and GLAAD

We appreciate your understanding.

If you are still uncertain about your status as a Straight Ally, please contact us for more information. In the meantime, you can't hurt your chances by striving to do better.


The Gay Agenda