One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘Queer

An image of a rainbow-colored rose with the words, "Stop homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia" above it.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Planned Parenthood Toronto is on a mission. Via their project, the LGBTQ Youth Initiative, they are out to improve the lives of queer youth. And with the Send the Right Message campaign, they’re targeting straight and cisgender youth to do their part: to stand up and be the force of the solution.

With a slogan of “Think of your impact. Rethink your words,” the poster and postcard campaign challenges all youth not only to remove anti-gay and anti-trans pejoratives from their casual language, but gives them scripts to speak up when company uses slurs or passes along stereotypes.

For example, one shows a skateboarder texting.

“Sure she came out as bi, but we both know she’s a lesbian,” says a text they’ve received.

“I love you, but I think that she knows her identity better than you do,” is their response.

The lessons focus on transphobia, gender essentiallism, biphobia, and identity policing with short, lightweight text exchanges. They call out microaggressions that might be easily dismissed, and that is what they want their youth targets to do.

Many young people want to be good allies, but where do they learn how? It’s more than going to Pride or wearing a rainbow pin. Being a good ally is about removing a burden from your LGBTQ friends, and one of the largest burden is that of educating others.

When a queer person challenges someone’s use of a slur or a stereotype, they get accused of beating people over the head with their identity, and their concerns brushed off. But if greater and greater numbers of people, cisgender, straight, and queer made it clear that these microaggressions were unacceptable, they would fade from common use.

It’s worth taking a look around Send the Right Messages’s website: it features a Privilege 101 FAQ that is written very kindly, and they want feedback on it from the LGBTQ community.

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If heterosexuals are “straight as an arrow,” what does that imply about non-heterosexual people?
Image: Shutterstock

What’s up with the word “straight?”  Does it ever seem a little offensive that heterosexuals are called straight?  What does that mean for those who are gay or lesbian – that they are somehow crooked?  I mean, if the opposite of straight is bent or crooked, isn’t that sort of what’s implied?

Then again, the word “gay” also means happy or joyful.  It didn’t used to be associated with sexual orientation at all, at least not until the late 1700s.  At that point it started to be associated with people who were happy enough being themselves that they didn’t stick to the norms of the day.

Yet, it soon got tainted with the notion of morally sinful behavior usually associated with prostitution and men who frequented such ladies (still about heterosexual people at this point.)  Later such authors as Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein stated using the word as a sly reference to homosexual trysts.

Soon people were using the word gay so as not to have to say “homosexual,” as people in those days were not supposed to talk about such a thing in public.  Later people stopped using the word, though, since they didn’t want to accidentally accuse somebody of being homosexual.  During the 60s and 70s people did start to talk about sexual orientation more and the word stuck.

Some believe that the world “straight” comes from the biblical reference in Matthew 7:14.  It states, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.”

The spelling is different, but many words were spelled differently in the bible and in old-fashioned English.  There are many other references to the word “straight.”

Some are “straight as an arrow,” “on the straight and narrow,” etcetera.  Both refer to following the moral code to a tee.  That would mean to be heterosexual.
The last one is “be straight with me.”  That means be honest and tell me the truth. If you were straight, meaning heterosexual, you would be a better person who is honest and true.

The more I find out about these metaphors and similes, the angrier I get.  It’s frustrating to see only positive references to the world “straight” when there are no such ones for gay people.  Perhaps in 50 years all the words we use now will be obsolete anyway.