It’s Friday night and I’m at my desk attempting to finish off the last bits of work so I can meet my husband, go for a Chinese tea and skip, holding hands towards the cinema to watch Rocketman whilst being full of MSG goodness.
The likelihood is we’ll check over our shoulders before we hold hands to make sure we’re safe. This is second nature to a lot of LGBTQ+ folk - we look before we walk hand in hand to determine our safety - second nature, automatic response and no amount of ridding yourself of shame can break it.
If we don’t feel entirely safe we might slyly caress each other, momentarily kiss - I wonder if you’ve ever given the person you love a one armed hug goodbye in an attempt to be read by the wider world as friends?
Our public displays of affections are spent either trying to predict, avoid, mitigate or in some cases be on the receiving end of violence. It does something to the brain this panic you live with. People like to tell you ‘it's not like that anymore’ or ‘no one blinks an eye round here, its fine’ but todays news in which two queer women were assaulted on a bus in North London says otherwise. The teenagers jailed last month for using a machete on a gay man says otherwise. The spike in violent attacks at cruising grounds in South London says otherwise - the list goes on but I ain’t got the capacity for that today.
Queers often search the net for how progressive the queer politics of the new country we’re visiting are, we trawl the gay internet to find the local queer space where we might be able to have a bevvy without judgement. We research how prospective MPs have voted on our human rights to make sure we choose the right candidate that won’t try to revoke our rights. We have no choice but to be politically aware because our right to marry, employment, equal age of consent, to adopt, to self identify, to be seen, heard and somewhere near the proverbial table is on the line ...now, more than ever.
I’m writing this for those who adorn their profiles with the word ally, those of you who read this because you’re so excited for this summers pride - this is for the gay best friends, the families of queers, the lovers of trans* folk- I’m talking directly to those of you who want to support your LGBTQ+ siblings - the community, more than ever is under attack.
We’re seeing a massive rise in radical right wing politics across the world and this isn’t when you get to step back and say you were only here for the parades, legendary sessions and the problematic politics of Drag Race.
So, here's a few pointers, not the definitive list but a few ways you might step forward and earn that title of ally...
Pride is our Protest
Pride isn’t your party, you are there to support the voices of others - you can volunteer, offer your services and assets and most regional prides will be grateful for you helping to raise the voices of other local folk
There are countless activisms happening across the world that you can get involved in that are not pride events! A lot of queer activists are run by volunteers, donations and the support of the wider community - offer your time, energy, expertise or support.
A contentious one because why would you put yourself in the firing line but imagine you and your three friends support the queer couple being abused by one, lone individual in public space - that's one against five - step up if you can. Now I’m being soft here, I think you should always step forward because if everyone did that we wouldn’t have to ask for this support - would we?!
If you’ve got spare coin then theres a host of organizations you can give it too. Many grassroots, forward facing trans* // POC // disabled folk will even have paypal.me links on their socials to support their safe travel to activist events // community project - if you’ve got it spare do consider this way of supporting!
Call Out the Rainbow Washing
Queers are getting really bored calling out corporations for their use of our community for social kudos. If the rainbow flag is being used asked where the money is going to, why they are adopting our identity and what their strategies for supporting the community outside Pride month looks like - cause Argos, Boots and Sainsburys currently are at it and I’d love to know why and where the coin is.
Raise Digital Voices
There are MANY public facing LGBTQ+ folk who are putting themselves front and centre to talk about the shit they face. Signal booth them - follow, share, support!
Queer friends and family members are best placed to tell you how they can be supported. Give them the space to tell you what they need and you can try meet those needs as best as possible.
Perhaps you’ve got some better ideas? Perhaps you’re dying to share them - good. Write a fucking blog, do a twitter thread, share them on instagram - share the fuck out of it and tag every fuck straight bloke who has ever been on the telly because we’re tired of being the ones who are always coming up with the ideas of how to survive - we’re passing some of the responsibility to you - after all, it's the straights who keep kicking our heads in and they are a part of your community, not ours.