Content warning: use of the slur “queer.”
As most people are aware, June is LGBTQIA+ Pride month. Everyone in our community has been doing such a great job of providing a really welcoming space for celebration and, as the name suggests, pride. I am especially proud to be a gay and trans person this month.
However, there have also been quite a few instances where our community hasn’t been that welcoming. This month is mostly seen as something only queer people can celebrate and partake in.
Indeed, many of us have forgotten the T in LGBT.
I came to terms with my sexual orientation very early on, in fact I came out to my mom when I was 11. From an early age, I’ve always felt part of the community. But as I’ve grown older, and I’ve started to question and redefine how I view my gender, I realized that while the gay version of me is accepted in the larger community, the non-binary version of me isn’t.
Scrolling through social media, I’ve seen so many people say that Pride isn’t for straight people and that straight people don’t belong in the community. Although I absolutely understand the dislike of straight people, as they benefit from and maintain the oppression of queer folk, saying that straight people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community is one step too far.
The intersections of sexuality and gender definitely aren’t mutually exclusive; my existence as a person who is both gay and trans is proof of that. However, heterosexual transgender people belong in this community as much as anyone else, and acting as if you get to police who can and can’t come to a celebratory gathering for the whole community is just immature. Despite what you might think, there are more people in this community that just you, and it’s time we ended the long-running exclusion of transgender people in our community.
Historically speaking, transgender people have always supported the mainstream LGBT+ rights movement. Let’s not forget the revolutionary impact Sylvia Rae Rivera and other trans people had in the Stonewall riots of 1969. We’ve been at protests for marriage equality, we’ve amplified the voices of queer folk, we’ve always been there with a helping hand. Yet I struggle to find examples of queer allies reciprocating that same support for us. Surely you’d understand how frustrating it is now that queer people have their marriage licenses, meanwhile we’re still fighting for the right to legally use public restrooms, and there’s barely any queer allies in sight.
The LGBT+ community also has a long history of transphobia, and don’t even get me started on the racism, ableism and misogyny entrenched in our community. There are many queer celebrities and influencers who embody this long transphobic history, such as RuPaul and Jeffree Star, and any trans person who has been on the internet (specifically YouTube) will also know of content creators such as Arielle Scarcella and Laci Green, who for years have made transphobic content, yet are still praised as apparent LGBT+ icons. Why are we continuing to idolize people who silence and exclude trans folk? Why are we continuing to idolize people who consistently fail to embody the love and acceptance our community is all about? What are we idolizing blatant transphobes?
It’s time we stopped giving transphobic people a free pass just because they’re queer. Especially considering the long history of transphobia in the community, cisgender queer people need to be doing more to embrace and celebrate us trans folk, rather than perpetrating centuries of transphobic oppression and our exclusion. Stop being immature and realize that there are more people in this community than just you. But most importantly, remember that yes, straight people belong at Pride.