Queer/Race

I support gay rights/literature/movements but I’m not gay. Is that okay?!

Posted in Uncategorized by erobert8 on April 28, 2010

Conversation with one of my friends yesterday:

“So I read this really interesting thing in my queer literature class today…” -Me

“Wait…since when did you become bisexual, I thought you had a boyfriend!” –More than slightly annoying frenemy.

I don’t understand why I can’t be an 100% heterosexual and still 100% support gay rights. The reason why I’m taking this class is an absolute mystery to my politically right identifying family members and they’re somewhat concerned that the material I’m reading and listening to in class through lecture and discussion will somehow convince me that I like girls. (That will never happen, girls have too many parts and I like my men.)

Essentially, I let my family and friends get to me about this subject and as a result of that, I felt too uncomfortable to go to the Queer Symposium on Friday. I began to be paranoid and thought that if people I was close to would automatically assume that my preferences are going to change, so might everyone else. Now more than ever, I realize how ridiculous this makes me sound so this blog post is my stand- an issue that deserves more attention is the quiet and unstable movement of straight people trying to contribute to gay rights.

My theory is that many people assume that if you are genuinely interested in LGBT issues, you therefore must identify yourself as LGBT. This is, of course, wrong. Homosexuals don’t just spring out of all homosexual families; they have heterosexual relations in some way whether is through familial, platonic or working relationships- all individuals of which support them, despite the fact that their orientation is different.

In Joshua Holland’s article “Why Straight People Need to Get Into the Fight for Marriage Equality,” he writes about the challenges that positive gay marriage legislation faces because it lacks supporters from those that aren’t sympathetic to the cause because they don’t see the point in paying attention if it doesn’t directly affect their lives. “Too many straight progressives see it as a second-tier issue, relegating it to a kind of “gay ghetto,” Holland says. “Now, it just so happens that I’m straight, and yet I think it’s crucial that same-sex couples enjoy full marriage equality — and not just ‘civil unions.’” While this article is interesting in the way that it provides a heterosexual man’s account of why it’s important to support gay rights, it is published on alternet.com, an activist news site that has a staunchly liberal slant on most of their articles.

It is difficult to serve a comparison on the current state of the issue since the issue of readership on gay rights is still primarily only those of LGBT identification. However, I still felt that this was an issue that was important to bring up for the “Look Over Here!” blog post since I am passionate about it, we haven’t discussed it in class and the issue of a more widespread testimony to full rights for homosexuals definitely deserves more attention. The attention it merits: news on all forms of media from different political affiliations. We, as consumers, are so used to placing in boxes corporations based on their slant: (e.g. that FOX is conservative, CNN is liberal) that we forget news should not have a bias at all: it should inform us and entertain us in an impartial way. If it would be possible to get coverage on all news networks, regardless of whether we initially check them in a box of “Republican” or “Democrat,”  then the vitality of gay rights will not only be publicized, but change could happen. It only reverses the process by putting this news on solely liberal or LGBT readership sites because then to the mainstream media it just seems like an LGBT issue that can be handled by the progressives, and not looked at as real news or a legitimate problem to heterosexuals. Therefore, I suggest that news of movements, general announcements or exciting progressions in policy should be taken notice of by all media which can start from our very own campus and people our own age. Although I am a heterosexual woman with a boyfriend (thank you useless frenemy) and no gay friends, I wish to publicly announce that I fully support gay rights and wish to become a proponent of them as long as the problem of inequality persists.

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5 Responses

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  1. cni1 said, on April 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    On your point about media corporations, I can recall a lecture in another English class I’m taking this semester. My teacher said goes beyond slant and that a lot of the main anchors are little more than actors. This was in relationship to visual media moving away from journalism, however, and the point was that informing yourself these days is becoming more of a d.i.y.

    I can understand your point of view. I’m sure if I went back home (in Bible Belt, VA) over the summer and told my old acquaintances all about this class I’d raise more eyebrows than I already have over the years (in being a tomboyish girl geek and not living to put a ring on it, that is). I know that gay rights certainly wouldn’t come up in conversation other than in conserva-babble context, but I agree that it’s an interesting point how the heterosexual community receives little information about the subject unless someone individually seeks it out.

    I think it also kind of goes both ways to varying degrees. Some of the readings seem to support a generalization that most, if not all, heterosexuals would automatically be against gay rights, or have no interest in the subject.

  2. wtravisumd said, on April 30, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    After I signed up for this class, I chose who I was going to tell about it. I did this just to see reactions form people. No one accused me of being gay or worried about me becoming gay, but their reactions were just as priceless.

    Mom: Worried I was going to hate the class and all gay people afterward.
    Dad: No expression. He just stared at me blankly before changing the subject.
    Girlfriend: Laughed and started asking a lot questions about the class and what I was wanting to get out of it.
    Brother: Shrugged and walked away.
    My friend Nick: Exclaimed that he hated gays and that I should drop the class.
    My GF’s roommate: Surprised that I, of all people, would take a class like that.
    My friend Justin: Was still more interested in my vegetarianism.

  3. saimaanika said, on May 2, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I am completely on the same page as you are. When I signed up for this class, I knew exactly why I wanted to take it. As a heterosexual woman with only one gay friend, who lives in New York, I had a minuscule amount of knowledge about the queer community (I didn’t even know that the LGBT community used the word “queer” as an essential term) and I wanted to know the issues, predicaments, struggles, and emotions that the queer community experiences. I wanted to gain understanding, feel the ups and downs, the rage, and the pain that the LGBT community encounters and support them wholeheartedly. I have always supported the LGBT community, but in order to utterly support them, I needed to know much more. I got what I wanted out of this class plus more. Anyway, the first person I told about my taking this class was my mom. She just kept asking me why I am taking this class and every time she asks, I say what I said above. After I tell something new I learned, like an issue or a predicament the LGBT community has to face, that is when she just keeps asking me why I take this class. She also say, “you better not come to me and say you’re gay,” as I roll my eyes, she adds, “well, then again you have always liked boys.” I didn’t even get myself started because then we would both be sitting there submerged in a heated discussion the whole night till the sun came up, so I just stuck to rolling my eyes like nobody’s business and just said, “Ma, are you serious? Do you even hear yourself?” And she’s just says “well, I’m just saying.” I told my one gay friend and he got so excited that he calls me like twice a week to know what I learned and we talk about it. He was an asset, along with the readings and discussions in this class, for me to understand certain complicated aspects of some of the material. I told two of my best friends and they seemed really excited and one of them is thinking about taking this class next semester while it took a little time for my other friend to get excited for me. I’m trying not to tell my dad because he is so rigid and just would not understand and I’m in mood to deal with that.

    So to answer your question, yes, it’s totally okay to not be gay, but support the LGBT community.

    I also agree that most “other” news are severed off from mainstream news and are distributed individually on their own, such as LGBT and liberal news, and only the people of those communities receive those news and other people from other communities who are interested in those news would have to hunt down those news for themselves. As opposed to mainstream news, where news is traveled and reached to mainstream media, whether we want to learn particular news or not (well, then you can just turn of WTOP or the local news and just seek out news for yourself, but that defeats the purpose of why mainstream society created news shows where they collaborate all the news that they think are most important and a lot of the news there are important to know). I think that “other” news should be aired on mainstream news where communities such as the LGBT community can have their own news show on mainstream networks such as CNN. That would be wonderful!

  4. ascheer said, on May 3, 2010 at 4:19 am

    I can still vividly remember one of the first times I stuck up for LGBT rights, or more accurately told my ignorant moron co-worker that he was being an ignorant moron. This also happened at a time in my life when I had a boyfriend and identified as straight, because long before I identified as queer I had (have) a queer brother.
    When I was in high school, I used to spend my summers working at a white water kayaking school in the rural mountains of Pennsylvania. On the way back from a trip to town, my co-worker announced that the worst thing that any child he had could do was be gay. Hearing that was like getting hit in the stomach by a ton of bricks. I was so hurt and so angry that I think I just started crying uncontrollably. In all of the confusion another friend asked me if I was gay (at the time I was not), which just made me even more angry.

  5. kaykay said, on May 6, 2010 at 2:26 am

    You are not the only one! Perhaps, there are even more straight people who are pro-LGBT rights than you think! I get the same question from people who haven’t even heard of the acronym “LGBT”. I don’t get frustrated when this happens because I believe as a straight person myself, it is important for someone to stick up for someone else who might not have as much as a voice as you do. This is somewhat off topic, but I’m also an advocate for marine animals. It’s not like someone who is LGBT cannot speak for themselves like marine animals cannot, but we as straight people create an even bigger voice alongside our LGBT friends. People who do not understand that someone who is straight can support the LGBT movement is just plain ignorant! People are quick to assume that someone is gay because they support the LGBT movement because it is …gasp …not the norm! I believe that in some way we are connected to someone LGBT. You say you have no gay friends, but you are in this class, so you are in relation! 


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