I’m straight. Is it really ok to speak up for a group that I am not a part of?
Not only is it ok, but your support is welcomed and very much needed. The unique “outsider” voice of straight allies is powerful and carries credibility that helps draw attention to and raise awareness about the issues that gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender (GLBT) people face each day. Speaking up and acknowledging, through words and actions, that all individuals deserve to be respected and treated equally also makes other people take notice and gives them the confidence to follow your lead. Looking for a first step? Sign the Straight for Equality Pledge to show your support.
Why should straight people be interested in issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people?
To achieve equality, GLBT people need the help of straight allies. When we work together, we can affect great change. We’ve heard all kinds of reasons about why people are straight allies. Some people have gay friends and want to make things better for them. Others have realized that discrimination against any group is wrong and needs to be stopped. Some believe that, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and believe their voices count. Still others want the opportunity to change history. Check out some of the personal stories we’ve gathered over the years to learn more.
What are the issues gay people face anyway?
Many of us know about hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage and anti-gay bullying, but gay people face a number of obstacles simply because of who they are. Many are concerned about being rejected by their families and friends, are worried about their safety, and are afraid of being rejected from their places of worship. Gay people can still legally be denied employment, housing, and other rights in many states which can cause stress as well as unnecessary financial burdens. If you want to keep up to date on some of these issues Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.
If I get involved in Straight for Equality, will people think I’m gay?
Maybe – and we know that this can be an uncomfortable reality at first. You can clarify that you are straight, or leave the question unanswered. This experience can offer a valuable perspective into the challenges gay people deal with all the time. Working through any anxiety you may have, and being able to have a good laugh about it, will give you the confidence and the tools to have a deeper discussion with others about the issue. Check out the 2012 guide to being a straight ally for some suggestions on how to overcome this discomfort and anxiety.
What if I encounter a negative reaction to “coming out” as an ally?
This is always a possibility, but we’ve found that most people are respected and supported for their words and actions as an ally - even when people around them don’t quite understand why they would support equality. However, it’s very important to think about why you’re an ally, and be able to explain it to others, if you ever encounter such a negative reaction. Consider using our “I’m a straight ally because…” cards to come up with a quick and easy response.
How do I become more comfortable talking about gay people and issues – particularly with my children?
The more you know, the more comfortable you will be if you ever need to speak up after hearing an anti-gay joke or comment. Education also helps you provide constructive and factual criticism of common arguments against equality that you may hear. Use some of our resources, such as our Glossary of Terms, the 2012 guide to being a straight ally, or the Straight for Equality in Healthcare Guide to learn more. Mental Health America also has a great publication called What Does Gay Mean? That helps you find the language to discuss these topics with kids, with specific guidance based on a child’s age.
How can Straight for Equality have an impact in my workplace?
Based on the belief that real diversity and inclusion cannot happen without the support and commitment of straight individuals at every level within corporations, Straight for Equality in the Workplace is a series of interactive training programs aimed at helping straight individuals become allies. By creating allies, a company takes important steps towards creating a comfortable and inclusive work environment for all. This leads to increased productivity, developing a more inclusive workplace, attracting new talent, and building a dedicated customer base. Check out our available training options or contact us to find out more and talk about how we can bring this project to where you work.
Do I have to be interested in advocacy or activism to be involved in Straight for Equality?
Straight for Equality is not about advocacy, and the word “ally” doesn’t necessarily mean “activist”. This project is about empowering straight allies to support GLBT people in small and simple ways that can be integrated in their day to day lives. There are simple, everyday things that you can do to help move equality forward. While advocacy work and/or activism are great Straight for Equality focuses on straightforward, non-political actions that you can take to create a more welcoming atmosphere for gay people.
If I am interested in advocacy, what should I do?
Please remember that effective advocacy starts at home. So while political engagement is critical, having conversations about why this matters to you is a powerful everyday tool that helps create new advocates.. Also, PFLAG offers a number of online resources useful for advocates of any level and can connect you with a chapter in your area if you’re interested in bringing the message of Straight for Equality to your community. You can also visit PFLAG’s Online Advocacy Center. In just a few minutes, you can sign up to get Action Alerts, learn more about key legislation, and even contact your elected officials.
Where can I get answers if I have more questions?
If you still haven't found what you're looking for, please contact the Straight for Equality team today. We’re always happy to hear from you!