So you’re cis gender and heterosexual but you want to attend Pride. What should you know?
1. We probably don’t want you there.
Unless a queer friend invites you personally to go with them, don’t go. Yes, I really mean that. No, I don’t care about your ally credentials. It’s not a straight ally parade. It’s for the rest of us.
2. Straight people are our enemies
Not every queer feels this way and most of us don’t feel it about every individual cishet, but as a whole straight (cis and hetero) people are the ones making our lives shorter and more traumatic than the average.
3. Bisexual doesn’t mean straight.
If you’re actually bisexual or pansexual but so used to being mistaken for hetero that you’ve started identifying that way, I don’t mean you. Queer erasure and bi erasure are cruelties I have no wish to perpetrate.
4. Cops are not our friends
Yes, I know, they’re all over Pride. But that’s because they forced their way in to the cheers of “allies”. Queer folk, especially older, poorer, and of color, are likely to know that the first Pride march was a riot, and police were not on our side. Cops at today’s Pride events hassle marchers for their visible signs of queerness.
5. Really, you can stay home.
Crashing our party, a party many of us have been too afraid or limited in attending ourselves (like me), is not kindness. It isn’t charity or activism or education. It’s crashing our party. Don’t be shocked some of us don’t like gatecrashers.
6. Your bigotry is poison.
Suicide rates are higher for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and higher still for trans people. We daily swim through this poison, trying not to choke or drown. When you show up to our clubs and marches with your curious questions, you poison our only source of clean water.
7. Drag is controversial
Drag performance includes plenty of sexism and transmisogyny. It’s also a long standing performance tradition in the broader LGBT community, especially among cis gay men. If your entire understanding of drag history comes from watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, you’re probably too transphobic for trans marchers to want you around. Your ignorance could cause real harm in a safe space.
8. Please, just stay away.
The only way LGBT people can create a safe space is by excluding cishets. When we let them into our clubs, the men hit on lesbians and the women grope gay men. When we let them into our marches, they invited police escorts to come with them. We cannot trust the population that spawns killers, bullies, and legislators, all working in concert against us.
9. Homophobia and transphobia are still the norm.
A few high profile trans women celebrities and legalized same-sex marriage do not undo the cultural disdain we live with. They don’t erase the traumas we’ve already been through. They don’t prevent new traumas being inflicted on us daily. Every queer person has an experience of bigotry.
10. Educate yourself.
While you’re staying home and not crashing our party, you can learn about queer history, about Pride, about Stonewall and Pulse. You can learn about conversion therapy and all the school districts trying to force trans children into cis gender roles. You can see the spate of new laws encouraging discrimination and even violence against us. And you can begin to grasp that all those harms come from people like you. You are more like them than you are like their victims.