by Dexter Sagar
In the pursuit of being a queer ally to the LGBT community, cisgender (a person whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex – cis-het for convenience) heterosexual people struggle with how best to go about it.
First of all, it needs to be said: It is not about you, it shouldn’t be about you, and you should never center your status as an ally for queer people around everyone’s perception of you. If you are unable to do this, you will continuously make spaces for queer people alienating, and be at odds with any attempt at being an ally. Pursuing the label of being a queer ally can be as vapid and damaging as saying racism and homophobia are “so last century.” Social Media, the radicalization of conservative and/or white supremacist movements, even in aspects of daily life can show you otherwise.
Secondly, in creating spaces for queer people, cis-het people need to acknowledge their unfamiliarity with queer presence. What works for cis-het people in a group gathering does not always work for queer people. Having queer friends and family members unfortunately still puts you as a cis-het person at odds to queer experiences in the LGBT community. And while you might have ideas that you feel would help, your presence or your initial response to lead might be counterproductive for your queer friends, family, and loved ones.
Most importantly, a queer ally must listen. They must be able to take a backseat, and listen to your queer friends and family. As with anyone, if you feel that you are being heard, and your voice is being accepted, you start to feel welcomed within whatever community you are a part of. If you feel that you need to identify as an ally, you should not occupy but instead open up the space.