The World is Not My Dancing Oyster

This video is pretty different from our last two, and because of that I’d like to make the post a little different (longer) as well.

Thirty years ago (and far before that), queer folks created their own spaces because they simply were not safe or accepted in mainstream spaces. The spaces were created out of necessity. If queer people had been allowed to be themselves in mainstream spaces, queer spaces would not have been necessary. With this segregation, a distinct culture emerged and these spaces became not only safe but also vibrant and positive spaces where people could revel in a common identity and be sure that the people around them shared certain experiences.

Nowadays, especially in Canada, queer people, especially gender-conforming gay and lesbian people, are usually relatively (physically) safe in mainstream spaces, although they are still subject to quite a bit of stigma and aggression. So queer spaces are not strictly necessary for safety reasons for those people. (Though I would point out that they are still necessary for a lot of queer folks who do experience a disproportionate amount of aggression, especially trans people.) But these spaces ARE necessary for social reasons – practical ones, like the fact that we’re a minority, so to find someone whose sexual orientation matches yours, it’s much easier if you concentrate yourselves in one area – and more abstract reasons. It’s extremely comforting knowing that the people around you share the same minority experiences as you. I feel perfectly safe around straight allies, but I do not have those shared experiences with them.

Please watch the video for our main points, but I wanted to give a bit of context and explanation to the video here. For a quick overview of the video, basically we say:

  • please go out to your local Pride Parade and support your LGBTQ+ friends!!!
  • but if you are straight please don’t take up too much space (physical, or in conversation) when in queer spaces, including at Pride!
  • tip: are you talking way more about your experiences than the queer people in your group are? Don’t!
  • tip: are you performing hetero PDA at a Pride event? Don’t….you can do that literally anywhere and we cannot.
  • if you’re going to a gay bar and you’re not accompanying an LGBTQ+ friend, please rethink it – don’t be a cultural tourist

Also, here is a nice list of guidelines fromΒ xojane.

– Arlie


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