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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Being Sensitive to GLBT Friends

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Author Topic: Being Sensitive to GLBT Friends
Member # 44941

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Let me introduce myself first!

Hi! I'm Sydney. I'm new here. As you guessed from my display name I'm a dancer [Smile] I'm a SEN10R from Atlanta, Georgia, USA and I go to private school. I suppose I'm moderately conservative and I suppose that's why I'm here.

I live in the South, but I'm from the North - and here, it seems like people don't accept GLBTQ people as readily as they do back home. A lot of it has to do with religion, with the majority of White Southerners being either Christian or Jewish and nearly the totality of Black Southerners being Christian. I personally am half-African American, half-Middle Eastern and I'm Jewish.

What I want to know is, essentially, how I can learn to be more sensitive and supportive of my GLBTQ friends while not drawing any attention to myself? I'm straight, but I have a lot of homosexual friends whom I adore dearly, and I want to help them in the best way possible, especially in the not so idle conditions of the South. The word "faggot" gets thrown around a lot by the boys down here, and I always tell them to shut their mouths when they say it, but they do it anyway. The crazy thing is, most of them are good upright Southern Boys aside from that - smart, athletic, Church/Temple-going, opening doors/pulling out chairs for ladies, real "yes ma'am" kind of boys.

I'm looking forward to y'alls input!

Posts: 2 | From: Atlanta,GA | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
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Member # 44338

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Hey, welcome to Scarleteen! Your attitude is fantastic. I know where you are coming from and it is fantastic to want to be more sensitive and supportive of your GLBTQ friends, but I cannot stress enough how much (for me anyway) one of my biggest fears with coming out was that people would treat me differently. You don't need to act any differently around your GLBTQ friends then you do around your straight friends. (I am not suggesting you would, simply heeding the caution that this is not a good idea)

But by all means I understand what you mean about being supportive. I have personally found that my most supportive friends are the ones who don't treat me any differently, but who are there when I need someone to talk to.

Also realize that there are so many other ways you could categorize your friends, those who excel in school, those who do not, those who enjoy sports, those who do not, and the list goes on and on. The fact is that none of the ways you could group your friends will totally fit any individual, because any grouping just encompasses a very small portion of that person.

Honestly if you just tell your friends you support them and do things like telling people to stop using the word faggot, and treat your friends the very same (all of which it seems you have been doing) then you are being a fantastic friend. There really isn't anything else you can do. But perhaps your friends feel differently, you could ask them if there is anything you can do.

It seems like you are already dong an amazing job, keep it up!


I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 864 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Honestly, calling people out on gay-bashing or homophobic language is one GREAT way to be a good ally: good for you. Too few people do that.

With queer friends, as with anything else, the best way to usually find out how to best support someone is to ask what kind of support a given person would like. What one of your friends wants in terms of support may be very different from what another does.

I do think that if you aspire to be a good ally, one of the things you need to work to let go of is any fear or worry about being perceived as a member of the group you are being an ally for. Do you know what I mean? For example, some people working in the civil rights movement back in the 60's were not afro-American, but of nationalities or races which resulted in the opposition assuming they were black. If, when one of those people used a racist epithet against them, they had responded with a denial of being black, like "I'm not a <insert nasty slur here>" rather than addressing the issue of slurs not being okay, period, they wouldn't have been being very good allies.

To give you another example, I work sometimes at an abortion clinic, and because I am female, now and then a protester has assumed I am a pregnant woman going in. Shouting back at them that I am NOT one of those "babykilling" women, rather than expressing that NO ONE in the clinic is killing babies, not me or any other woman, and that they may not harass me or ANY woman, would not be my being a good ally for the women there I serve.

Make sense? Often we can't be a good ally in secrecy, or without being recognized/known as an ally, which sometimes means being confused with the group we are being allies for. But if we're really their allies, that should be fine by us.

[ 12-09-2009, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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