What I want heterosexual students to understand, as an LGBT student

Patrick Young explains how he wants heterosexual people to behave in LGBTQ+ spaces

Patrick Young
19th November 2020
Image: Needpix.com
I am here for inclusivity, and shared spaces, but if you are going to enter LGBTQ+ spaces, I have something important to discuss with you.

Everyone I know enjoys visiting Newcastle's gay bars and clubs, both my LGBTQ+ friends, and our many heterosexual allies. However, I have one issue with heterosexual people in our space. If you come to our spaces without an LGBTQ+ friend with you, it can come across as if you are only there for touristic value.

This is, of course, not necessarily true, but I have been in Rusty's many times and seen gaggles of straight men make lewd gestures towards each other. They're usually gesturing about some random lesbian couple, who happen to be enjoying themselves and dancing together. This is clearly not okay.

Heterosexual people have the entire world to be themselves

Heterosexual people have the entire world to exist and be themselves. Our spaces are open to all, but at the end of the day, it is a safe space for us to just exist. It is not for heterosexuals to leer – and view us – as if we are entertainment for them.

This is not just a cisgender, heterosexual male issue. I myself have been surrounded by straight girls going off like "yass queen", "slay" and "werk". First of all, that is not their language to appropriate; it's barely mine. It is the non-white community and the Harlem Ball scene's language. Second, it doesn't even apply to the situation. I was either awkwardly dancing with my friends, or at the bar getting drinks.

We just want a space to feel safe. Please let us keep it that way.

Of course, I am thrilled that heterosexual people feel comfortable in our spaces. However, that comfort cannot be at the expense of the comfort of the LGBTQ+ community, to whom these spaces belong. We just want a space to feel safe, and not like some sort of freak, or other.

Please allow us to keep it this way.

Featured Image: Needpix.com

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