This was prompted by a discussion that was locked from the start, and as such, if you were privy to it, please do not reveal the identities of the people involved in any way; it was locked for a reason and I have no intention of disrespecting the friendslock. I will screen any comments that refer specifically to any people or situations discussed or mentioned in that post. This post is not meant to shame or call out anyone who was involved; that was already accomplished in that post and later in private.
And if you're gossiping about this, I hope all your hair falls out, you bastard.
Dear fellow queers,
If you knee-jerk at a straight person for saying something faily, you are hurting your cause by being angry (because gay rights are only important if all gay people are willing to be reasonable and calm). Also, you are a bully because you hurt someone's feelings when you pointed out their fail. It doesn't matter that you simply said "this was an offensive thing to say". It really hurts to be told you said an offensive thing, you know! In fact it's too much to bear -- so much so that any venom the straight person spews at you if you dare not agree with this is entirely on your conscience, not theirs: you have made them very upset and you deserve every. single. cruel word.
If you knee-jerk in your own safe space to vent so you can approach (another) straight person calmly (because despite your rage/pain/anger, you believe it's worthwhile to talk to them and you don't wish to be angry when you do) you are being a two-faced lying liar. Because you see, straight people are entitled to know all your feelings at all times, and if you do not tell them directly everything that's on your mind about what they said, then when they find out about your terrible betrayal of using your (public or private) safe space to vent, they might actually be hurt too badly to remember that they're the ones who said something to cause you pain in the first place, intentionally or not.
Trying to explain any of this to straight people will almost never work, because you see, people should treat each other equally. It should not matter what the world is like as long as the straight person you're with considers you their equal. Therefore you should be held to the same standard of behaviour at all times, and your actual queerness should not -really- matter when the two of you are talking about your queerness. After all, they have queer friends, so they know all about being queer. Plus, these straight people are the real injured parties here -- you've either hurt their feelings by being insensitive and telling them they've failed or you've hurt their feelings by venting your anger at what they said where they weren't immediately aware of it. You are the problem. They were just trying to be good allies; they were just trying to help you, and you've repaid their laudable efforts with complete ingratitude. It's really hard being an ally, you know.
Remember, kids: it's really best to shut up when straight people are talking about how best to help you fight for your rights.
Don't call them out on their language, because you'll inevitably just be taking what they said out of context. They don't mean to hurt you, so your pain should just disappear when they tell you that. Pain is not real unless it was inflicted deliberately and with malice. Don't call them out on casually homophobic remarks, because you shouldn't expect them to know anything about how hate speech works and how things that seem innocent to them can affect you.
Straight allies are here to support you emotionally, to cry over how terrible the bullying, prejudice, and discrimination you endure is, to wear purple for you. With how busy they are doing all these things, naturally it's completely unreasonable to expect them to try their best not to offend you, or, Kinney forbid, to actually understand you.
(almost) all sarcasm aside, here's PSA.
Dear straight allies:
You are not entitled to be considered safe by the queers around you, not even if you're best friends, not even if you're a vocal gay rights proponent, not even if you donate real cash money to pro-gay-rights causes or communities, and, shockingly, not even if you wore purple this Wednesday.
If a queer person you're talking to snaps at you because you've said something faily, don't tell them what you said wasn't faily, even if you honestly don't think it was. You do not get to tell queer people how to feel regarding things that you -- a member of a majority group with a long cultural history of abusing and mistreating queer people -- say about queers. Just apologise for hurting them. And I mean actually apologise, not "I'm sorry you're offended" or "I'm sorry if I've offended you" or "I'm sorry you took it the wrong way and got hurt." An apology basically reads "I am sorry for having done something that hurt you." You don't have to prostrate yourself or go into a deep analysis of how you have failed or anything like that; if your apology is genuine, a lot of us will just forgive you (if it's not genuine, I personally will just decide to dismiss you forever as an ignorant asshat, but your mileage will vary). If you can't or don't want to apologise, just be silent. If you do anything else, chances are you won't be doing all that much better than the bullies and homophobes you claim to abhor so much, in terms of making the queer person feel shitty.
If a queer person vents -- in her or his safe space -- about something you said and characterises it as faily, you are not entitled to an explanation why they didn't feel like saying it to you directly, not even if they do end up talking to you about what you said elsewhere. You do not get to be offended that they omgz ~talked about you behind your back~. Because if a queer person is upset or angered by something you said about queers, it's not about you. They are not talking about you, your character, your virtue, or your dog Bessie. They are talking about what you said and how it made them feel when they heard/read it. These feelings are not yours to criticise and dissect; they are theirs to process and come to terms with. They may even say really mean things like "I can't believe that homophobic asshat! >:(" but you are not allowed to expect them to be rational and reasonable when they're angry.
And because it is not about you, if you see a queer person venting about you somewhere you weren't invited and you decide to apologise for saying the thing that set them off, don't be too quick to do that. They might be venting away from you because they do not want to engage with you, so ask first if they're willing to talk to you. And for the love of puppies, don't get offended if they don't want to talk to you -- or if they don't accept your apology. To them, it's entirely Not. About. You. I promise you that queer people who get mad at you do not have a personal grudge against you, the person; they're pissed because they feel you have treated them as less than a person. Not a fun feeling!
Support the community. Educate before we need to. Try not to fuck up. If you fuck up, for whatever reason, apologise sincerely and keep it in mind for the future.
If these suggestions are deal-breaking for you, I personally would urge you to kindly consider finding a different pet cause, because I don't think allies like you are in any way necessary.
somewhat ambivalently (at the moment) yours,
And FTR if you are seriously having that much trouble reconciling what you have read in this post with my (continuing) "fan works posted in public are fair game for criticism, regardless of the author's feelings" stance: fan works are not ~serious business~. Queer identity and gay rights are serious business in the completely non-ironic sense of the phrase.
(Uh, happy spirit week? -_-)