With the emergence of Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools and the call for "allies for the cause" one question enters my mind: What does it mean for the queer community when straight people enter gay spaces?
As co-president of my college's LGBTQ organization it is important for me to understand what impact straight people have on our community, particularly when straight people enter queer spaces. I hold the view that we are not here to make straight people feel better about themselves.
While we do not exclude straight people from our organization, we do not create a space for their education or their self-serving warm fuzzies in the weekly meeting or the queer cultural center (which serves as a library, safe zone and housing unit). This is not to be mean, we just feel that straight people already have their own place everywhere else in the world and we want a space for us and focused on our issues without having to answer gay or trans 101 questions.
March 29th begins our Pride Week and there have been many discussions centering on the purpose of the week - particularly for the queer students, but for the rest of the college community as well. Where do we draw the line between Pride and other events for the queer community and outreach and education towards the greater campus community?
It is a hard fence to ride and the arguments on both sides of the fence have important points. But I do not want to spend the time within a queer meeting or Pride Week educating or informing straight people about my life: I have to do that everyday and I need breaks.
Straight allies have a place within the queer community, and I think that is fantastic. The fact of the matter is: people don't usually listen to marginalized people until a dominate group starts advocating for them. It is sad but true.
On the other hand, a queer support/social organization is not the place for straight allies. This is a safe space for queer support, community and camaraderie. whereas public events held throughout the year and Pride Week are a prime arena for straight allies to gain information and show their support for the queer community.
Where should the line be drawn? Should there be a line? How many straight people turn a queer space into just another everyday place?