I’m a straight white man who wore a rainbow flower garland round London after pride.
I went to pride with my girlfriend today. I’m straight, I’m white, I’m cis, I was wearing a reasonably smart jacket. Around pride, I was accepted unconditionally. Everyone knows that’s what happens and it’s great.
But as I walked back to the train station, something changed. There was nothing outright nasty, but I did start to get disapproving looks from people passing me. It’s really opened my eyes.
This is not trying to say that I experienced anything like those who have homophobia thrown at them. This is not a sob story, from a privileged guy. It simply humanized it to experience even a tiny bit of disapproval. I’d never doubted it happened, and I’d experienced it from outside, but this was slightly different.
The point I’m trying to make is this: if someone otherwise so accepted by society as I can feel slight discomfort for a few minutes, imagine what someone gay, or trans, or black, or working class, or disabled, or all of these things and more would feel. For their whole life.
I don’t usually like the terminology of privilege, because I do believe that the quality of life I enjoy is a right which all should get, we should change the lack of rights of some, not reduce the rights of others, but in this instance, I urge others to use their privilege. I had the privilege to be able to experience both sides, in my own small way.
I suggest you do the same; make it clear, just for half an hour at least, that you support something controversial. It is truly scary. But we have the privilege of being able to experience it and then return to our safe lives. At the very least we should use that to remind us of the suffering of our LGBTQetc friends and neighbours. However informed and driven we are, it always helps to be more so.