Supporting gay people is easy, right? You just have to put up an equals sign on your facebook and you’re done, right?
Ha. Hahahahaha. No.
First, here’s a quiz.
Did you put up the sign just because your friends did?
Do you routinely- or even ever- say or do homophobic things? This includes calling people faggots. In case you weren’t sure. Or saying no homo. Or getting grossed out when a gay person touches you. Or voting libertarian or republican. Or hating gay people.
Do you only want gay people to be able to marry so your pet gay men can marry eachother and be all cute and have a quaint little wedding where everyone is fabulous in dresses regardless of what they actually want and you and the rest of the “Faghags” get to be bridesmaids and it’s just like your yaoi fanfiction?
Do you only want gay people to be able to marry so Hot Lesbians will marry eachother and then have sex with/near you inexplicably?
Would you be disturbed or even bothered if someone you know came out as gay?
Is changing your facebook icon the only thing you would ever be willing to do to support me and people like me?
If you answered yes to any of those, you fail. You’re a faux ally. I don’t need your support, and I don’t want your support. Your support is fake and bitter and it makes me wary of you because you might turn one moment from my support-via-facebook-icon to the person who thinks I’m an icky dyke who is totally going to gay you up, or whatever it’s supposed to be.
If you answered no to all of those, congratulations! You have homework.
Go out. Go out and help. When you hear someone say something hateful, speak up, because I can’t. Because when people say hateful things around me I start to say something, then I wonder if it will make them realize I’m gay, then I wonder how they’d react if I outed myself, if I should out myself, what they would do if they knew I was gay, how they would treat me, if they would hurt me, if I should just lie and say I’m just gay supportive, if that would hurt even worse… and once all of that has run through my head the chance has passed and it’s too late, but the chance will come again soon, and the same thing will happen, because it always happens, because none of the privileged, safe straight people say anything. Nobody ever says anything. Nobody ever has said anything. Ever.
I have literally never had anyone stand up for me or for whoever else around me is gay when someone used my identity as a joke, as an insult, as a threat. Ever. And now suddenly supporting me is a fad so all these pro-gay people are coming out of the woodwork who apparently didn’t exist before.
So prove that this isn’t just a fad, and actually support me. Actually make this world a place where I can feel comfortable being who I am, where I don’t have to quietly bite my tongue and deal with it when I’m the butt of someone’s joke because everyone else is supporting me.
And if you want to use facebook to do that? Fine. Find something real to do, though. Replace your equals sign with the picture of your duck face or you drinking or your genitalia or whatever passes as a facebook photo these days, and start calling out the people who say homophobic things. Challenge the people who go on Romney rants, tell people that their behavior isn’t acceptable, start posting statuses of the homophobic things you’ve countered so people know you’re actually doing something, actually make it clear to gay people that you really care and really support us.
But don’t just change your icon and declare yourself an ally. Change the goddamned culture.