Dear straight people, think twice before coming to any Pride events this summer

Queer spaces make us feel safe, your presence could destroy that

The phrase “LGBTQ+ ally” gets thrown around loads and straight people love declaring they are one. But the issue I have with it is the fact the majority of people who claim to be an ally don’t actively do anything to help our community. I mean fair enough not everyone is throwing around homophobic insults one day and then calling themselves an ally the next – but that doesn’t mean you deserve the title. You can’t go to Pride once every year, put some rainbow glitter on your face and call someone your gay best friend – those things don’t make you an ally.

I’m sick of straight people infiltrating queer spaces because you claim to be a self-proclaimed ally when you’re really nothing of the sort. Listening to Lady Gaga whilst getting ready and going out with your queer mates isn’t a ticket into allyship.

Just look at Mighty Hoopla last weekend. So many straight people went and it’s ridiculous how many of them posted photos kissing their other straight friends. I’m a lesbian and I wouldn’t feel safe kissing my girlfriend in most public places so what makes a straight person deserving of coming into a space for my community and doing it?

Before all the big Pride events start this year, be aware that it doesn’t get you any “ally credit” if you go. Engaging in queer culture isn’t a fast-pass into allyship. Pride might be a fun Instagram story and an excuse to wear bright clothing for you but for us it’s our history. You could at least educate yourself on the meaning and importance of Pride. Wearing a rainbow top and thinking you look the part doesn’t cut it.

I often go to straight spaces with my straight mates but there’s something different about being able to hold my girlfriend’s hand or kiss her without people stopping and looking at us like we don’t belong there. This is why queer spaces are important to me and other people in my community. It’s where we can feel safe and protected. So before you jump and buy tickets for a queer event this summer, think about your motivation for going and whether your presece would make someone feel uncomfortable.

The Tab’s Pride reporting series is putting a focus on highlighting LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating queer voices across UK campuses.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on 0300 330 0630 or visit their website. You can also find help through The Mix

If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s an incident of homophobia on campus, an experience you’d like to share, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

Read more from The Tab’s Pride series:

These reactions to Rebel Wilson coming out prove why we still need Pride

Take our homophobia on campus survey and help us expose the problem at unis

Lesbian fashion going mainstream makes me feel more confident in my sexuality

Feature image credited to William Fonteneau on Unsplash.