I once told a straight friend that I go to a Tuesday evening MeetUp for the LGBTQ community, and in a half-joke he asked if he could join me. I told him no. I do not tell him no because I am a prick (well that’s for you to decide after reading this tiny article), but because I believe that this friend has plenty of places where he can go to be comfortable and as a straight man.
This particular event is a space for me where I can be myself and share my experience as a gay person with other LGBTQ people who simply get it.
Am I saying that straight people should be excluded from our spaces? No, I am not. I can tell you though that I am probably not going to open up to them the way I would with other queer people. That is my truth. I strongly believe that a straight individual cannot understand or empathize with the daily trials and tribulations of people trying to navigate in a largely hetersoxeual world due to fear of being outed or ostracized by their peers (or those that they thought were peers).
How many times have I seen a straight-person squirm uncomfortably as I talk about the ups-and-downs of dating in the queer world? Straight people cannot fully understand the pain, joy, fear, and the other myriad of feelings when sharing their coming out stories. Certainly, they can listen and say “good for you!” or “I’m so sorry to hear that” but can they truly feel it? I think not. What I truly look forward to is a moment and a space where I can simply be myself without worrying at least once a week. I can hug, flirt and be affectionate without the nagging feeling that somebody may disapprove.
Another concern about opening our LGBTQ spaces to straight individuals is that we risk losing our unique identity and security. RuPaul, speaking to The Huffington Post, discussed her opinion on the practice of straight women going to gay bars for bachelorette parties; although I have not seen this practice in Taiwan, I would certainly be annoyed. RuPaul states, “People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone is there to serve them.” We as a community risk making ourselves a tourist attraction to those who may have good intentions. Worse yet, we may risk exposing ourselves to the misguided individual who espouses the kind of bigotry we seek to avoid. This is of course extreme, but I feel it is worth mentioning.
I do strongly believe that straight people can be our greatest allies in our fight for equality that still continues. I will be certainly happy to meet you at a rally, a courthouse or legislative hall. At the same time, our community is supposed to be open and accepting. If you are straight but are not sure you fit in with the heteronormative world created around you - come on in! If you are coming to our spaces to assure yourself that you are liberal and accepting, well, I believe you, but remember you are a guest in that sacred space.
(翻譯：Wei Chen；編輯：Lian Tsai)