Attention straight people, this is how you treat LGB people better
Hey you, over there, with a spare minute or two. I know work’s a bore at the moment, and you’re itching to do something, anything, in fact, to kill a few minutes before the end of the day comes.
That’s why I’m asking you to take those few minutes to read the below on how straight people can be a little bit better at treating LGB people nicely.
For the most part, everyone is trying their best to treat people with the kindness and the respect they deserve. But as the strive towards equality for everyone, regardless of their orientation or identity, continues, there’s *some* things that happen a little too often to be merely coincidental.
Please read this public service announcement, and take it on board. Sorry not sorry.
- Remember that gay nights are not your playpen
I love going out with my friends just as much as the next woman. But when it comes to selecting your nights out, it’s good to note that a Big Gay Night Out isn’t a wild tourist attraction for you to turn up and indulge in for kicks.
What is an every now and again event for you in which you can celebrate is the fabric of many members of the LGB community’s lives. Turning up at an event for extra edge or in a misguided attempt at allyship is all the more frustrating when you have so many other spaces to party.
Of course, no-one is saying that gays and straights can’t dance as one, but the sore unawareness of the space you’re in as some voyeuristic experiment is nothing short of painful.
And of course, it’s best not to spend your night gawping and laughing. I wish that it didn’t need to be said, but apparently it does.
2. Read around a bit
Gay culture has often been marginalised throughout history, but it’s not a gay person’s responsibility to educate you on what is has been happening in the world.
General reading about LGB rights in the UK and some global perspective helps — being informed of the ever-present struggle means that we feel supported in a sometimes hostile world.
3. My life is not your soap opera
I blame some really bad programmes making way too many 2D stereotypes of what being gay is like. LGB people come in an array of shapes and sizes — just as straight people do. Our relationships are no less facile, or no less carefree simply because of our sexuality. And it’s because of these stereotypes that people still treat gay people as The Best Friend — people without their own complications and struggles that exist to provide comedic value and support in a straight person’s world.
We are not props for heterosexual lives — no-one wants spend their time simply playing the supporting actor to someone else’s issues.
4. A date’s a date
See that pair, sat over there, deep in conversation? Regardless of whether you *just* can’t work out whether they’re good friends or just a little bit more, leave them alone. Please.
As a woman who dates women, I’ve often found that men tend to approach my date and I in pairs as if we are ready and willing because we happen to be present and correct. Rather than reading our social cues, several men have happened to linger, even after the words ‘we’re on a date’. Learn some boundaries. And for the love of god, no, we do not want a threesome with you.
Also some further questions that are forbidden at any given point after we’ve told you to sling your hook: where did we meet/on what app though/ where could his lesbian friend meet other women/could she meet you some time/are you sure/can I join you. The list goeth on.
(In general, it’s a good idea to leave women if they’re deep in conversation, FYI).
5 Please stop staring
If toddlers are taught it’s rude, you should know better too.
6. No, that’s not ‘gay’
Even those who think they are the most woke of allies still use ‘gay’ as a pejorative. If you think gay is an insult, have a talk with yourself and cut it out. It’s not cool, as it makes us feel like bargain basement goods. Being gay isn’t less, but your tone is certainly suggesting otherwise.
7. No, you will not ‘become’ a lesbian
HA HA HA, life is not PornHub, folks. I’m sorry that you were treated badly by some moron not worth your time, but it’s not hilarious to suggest that you’re going to become gay after some hardship.
8. Listen to us
Listen to what we’re going through. Accept that there’s some unique challenges that we face that you simply won’t experience. Support us when we go through these absolutely rubbish situations.
9. Give us some privacy
People’s sexuality is not your business, and it’s not your gossip. Some people may be queer, but it doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable talking about the inner workings of their romantic lives with you.
What is often forgotten is that LGB people don’t just come out once, they come out again and again. While people are asked and questioned about who they are attracted to, or how they identify as people, it creates an idea of a speakable difference, rather than simply another side of the same coin.
And no, we don’t need the banns, or congratulatory announcements, if we do decide to tell you. We just would like you to accept who we date and who we are as another version of normal — because it is.
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10. Stop fixating on the p in the v
Sex education did us all over, and one of its biggest crimes is the onus it put on penis into the vagina sex. I hate to break it to you, but that is one form of sex out of many. The Act Itself will differ for each person, and we’re not necessarily willing to define it for you. Our sex lives our not a joke, and frankly, they’re none of your business.
And you know that really *funny* joke you coined about your bisexual friend having a threesome? They’ve heard that about 17,000 times before. Stop being boring. Stop being an idiot. Just… shut up.
11. You can be an ally
And finally, you can have our back. Support LGBT causes, support your LGBT friends, and support LGBT communities. The world can get a little bit better if we all work together.