Month: October 2015

On ‘straight allies’ and ‘straight queers’

Recently, I came across this:

Now I can’t say I have an opinion on the word ‘queer’, especially – I like it when slurs are reclaimed, because language is powerful and it can only have the meaning we allow it to have – but I’m not political over it. The ways in which minorities self-identify are myriad and wonderful and often unpredictable. I mash several identities – Muslim, British, Asian, East African – into one and I would be lying if I said that had always been simple. It has taken me a long time to gain some sense of my identity and to do it on my own terms. The thing with being a minority is that no one else can do that for you. It’s a conundrum you have to resolve yourself, no matter how much wrestling it takes.

Obviously some people help that process and some hinder it. You can never tell who falls into which camp. Bigots can anger you whilst fostering pride in your heritage whilst supportive people can fail to spark anything, intellectual or otherwise. It’s nice to be supported whatever your demographics, of course, but there’s a line between ‘supported’ and ‘patronised’. ‘Straight allies’? Really? It’s not sufficient for you to not be a bigot; you have to announce it to the world at large? And as for ‘straight queer’; well, that can just go hang. Would you call yourself a White Person of Colour (since that’s what we’re all expected to call ourselves now; thought I’m not quite sure when ‘Asian’ ‘African’ became so frowned upon.

It’s not that I want everyone to be bigoted. It’s great when people actively (or even passively) support equality; it’s even better when they are aware of their prejudice and bigotry and try to do something about it. But you don’t need to ‘come out’ as a ‘straight ally’ (seriously: just be nice to non-straight people and that will be sufficient. And don’t feel the need to make it all about you by ‘coming out’. It’s not about you.) and, frankly, if you can’t see that ‘straight queer’ totally colonises someone else’s identity, heritage and struggle in order that you can feel better about your own identity and heritage I’m not quite sure what else to say.