Unmask! Unmask! National Coming Out Day, Not Just for Queers Anymore: A Message to Straight Allies
I’m queer, in case anyone missed the references to my girlfriend. And I’m out, like way out. There may have been a small, localized fire in my personal closet. I’m that kind of out.
That’s the choice I make and I do so with the knowledge that I could be hurt, financially or physically as a result of it. But it’s not the right choice for everyone. So I’m not going to use this day to urge LGBTQ people to come out or to vilify them if they don’t. It’s a safety thing and you’ve got to take care of you.
What going to do is say something to all the straight people in the world.
To those of you who are our allies; today is not just a day for us to come out. Today is a day for you to step up!
Download this picture.
It’s time for every ally to come out, loud and proud. Why you and not members of the LGBTQ community? Because you have so much less to lose. You’re far less likely to lose your job, your family, your children. You’re in far less danger of being beaten or killed.
Your privilege protects you. Now, you need to use that privilege to protect us. Yes, it might be uncomfortable. Yes, you might lose friends. But if those friends are bigoted and hateful how much of a loss is it really?
Every time you use your privilege to speak up for what is right, you apply herd pressure to everyone else. Bigots find that they are not simply going to be able to say anything they want without question, other allies see your actions as an example and members of the LGBTQ community know that someone has their backs.
Your privilege gives you power and it is your responsibility to use that power. Step up. Speak out. When you hear something anti-equality, say something. Even if what you say is simply “I disagree with your statement because I support equality for all,” you are helping. We hear you when you speak for us. While it might not be safe for us to say anything in the moment, I want you to know that we value your part in our fight.
We need that support because the constant battle for humane treatment is fucking exhausting. We’ve got to constantly weigh the value of our voice against the personal physical and financial sanctity of our bodies and our families.
We need your voice to help us, to give us the ability to not have to have that internal battle for just one moment. We need you to step up and take the social hit, which will impact on you much less dramatically than it will on us, so we don’t have to do it every second of every day.
We need your voice because the other side has these people
And they are loud, and hateful and every time you stay quiet your silence is tacit agreement with them and people like them.
Be better than them.