Maybe it’s just the city I live in? Maybe it’s just the people that I’ve met recently? But I’m pretty sure every person in the LGBTQ community can relate to hearing the “Straight Sympathy Speech” at one time or another. It happens at parties usually when meeting new people. A drunk straight guy puts his arm around you and says something along the lines of “I don’t care that you’re gay bro I’m cool with everybody”…
Good for you “bro” but why do you have to acknowledge my sexuality and TELL me that you’re okay with it? Can’t you just be OK with it? Can’t you just be a nice and inclusive person and treat me and talk to me like you’d treat or talk to anyone else at the party? I applaud your progressiveness and I applaud your gesture to let me know that it’s ok to be me. Social change takes a while, I get that. Baby steps are better than nothing, and I get that it can be a confusing concept in a mostly heteronormative society. But it gets annoying after a while!
It doesn’t just happen in the sense of a drunk straight guy at a party. I’ve noticed it talking to middle aged women as well. They meet you at a family BBQ and they say something like “Oh my sister’s son’s friend is gay and he is into theatre too” as a way to “relate” to you. It’s like a thing with some people that they feel they have to acknowledge it or get past it in order to talk to you. I had a woman say to me recently (in front of a whole bunch of people) “What do YOU think of this name for a boy? We decided it was going to be a gender neutral name just in case one day they grow up to be transgender”… Lady…what do I care what you name your baby? And why are you seeking ME out of everyone else at this party for my opinion? Because I’m gay?
I find it even worse when girls your own age find out your gay and immediately go “Oh my god! I always wanted a gay best friend can you please take me shopping!?” - sure most of us are fabulous-as-fuck and have a great sense of style but not ALL of us do. And we’d rather be treated like one of your “friends” rather than one of your “gay friends”.
Like I say, social change takes time, but hopefully this article helps straight people realize that even though they think of themselves as “progressive” and “open minded” they can still make ignorant comments and put us in situations where they have to acknowledge our sexuality in social settings. Just try and talk to us and get to know us for who we are as individuals. Maybe we really do have lots in common. We are all human after all.