Should straight people be allowed in Queer spaces?

Hannah discusses this hotly debated issue.

Hannah Ross
28th February 2022
Image from Unsplash @Yoav Hornung
There is no shortage of discussion about when it is appropriate for straight people/allies to access queer spaces, and there are a range of opinions on the matter. For me, I say come on in! Going to gay bars and caking my face in glitter for pride are some of the most amazing experiences of my life and I want everyone else to experience that joy too! 

Clearly the issue is a little more complex than this though. Historically, straight people and the institutions they dominate have been the source of oppression for the LGBTQ+ community for centuries. Some of that bigotry still exists today, and queer spaces were created specifically to act as safe spaces from this behaviour. It is completely understandable, given the experiences in mainstream society of queer people, why certain individuals feel the need to protect these spaces since they are our refuge. 

However, this has become a form of gatekeeping, another way of dictating who can and cannot access a certain space. I believe it encourages assumptions to be made of people, based on their sexuality and expression of their identity, and creates a further divide between sections of society when the whole ethos of the queer community is acceptance of all. People's actions should be held to account, not their identities – that defeats everything that LGBTQ+ people have worked for. If a person is making derogatory or insensitive comments, if they are not willing to learn about why those comments are offensive, then yes, they should be excluded from such spaces. In a space specifically marketed towards queer people, they are not winning that fight – there are so many strong characters in that room, that person's sense of entitlement would be destroyed in the space of five seconds...  

People's actions should be held to account, not their identities

On the contrary, straight people should be welcomed into our queer spaces. The best way to learn about a group of people is to surround yourself with their community– and there is so much to experience! As a safe space to express yourself, societal expectations do not exist meaning there is such a range of people to meet. It also allows straight people to express themselves as well. Straight does not mean a person likes conforming to stereotypes of gender and sexuality performance. The pressures of society make it hard for people to feel comfortable with themselves and the way they enjoy expressing their quirks and uniqueness. Here is a space that can have a significant, positive impact on self-confidence and esteem. 

If nothing else, I don’t think anyone should go through their whole life without going to Pride at least once – get it on your bucket list! It's an event you can't describe, only experience. There is so much colour, artistic expression, personality, amazing performances, and GLITTER! The queer community has evolved into its own culture. To deny people the ability to experience this because of their sexuality goes against the whole basis that this culture was built on, and we must work towards a society of acceptance, not discrimination. Discrimination and bigotry should be held to account, and it is unfortunate that many straight people still act in this way. But with all these kinds of problems, these people should not be allowed to ruin it for the rest of that group. For all other straight people, please, come in, enjoy the party, and enjoy the opportunity to show everyone all the hidden quirkiness of your personality! 

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