There are many gender identities and sexual orientations that anyone can feel connected to or identify with.
More and more terms have been popularized over the years to represents the emotions and experiences of queer individuals and if you aren’t immersed in the LGBTQ+ culture or the queer community, you might not recognize a few sexual orientations and gender orientations due to a lack of representation in mainstream media.
While straight ally is not typically one of the terms, we are still going to talk about what does it mean to be a straight ally, explain what does the straight ally flag mean, and help you with some information to become a better straight ally to the queer community at large.
Because while the queer community is strong, we always need support from our allies to help to dismantle stereotypes and render invaluable support to individuals in marginalized groups who may not possess the power, status, means, or opportunity to influence systemic and institutional change on their own!
In this article we will cover...
- What Does Straight Ally Mean?
- Straight Ally Pride Flag Meaning
- Other Straight Ally Information To Help You Be The Best Ally You Can Be
What Does Straight Ally Mean?
A straight ally is a cisgender or heterosexual person who recognizes the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community due to their gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation. They are not themselves part of the queer rainbow family, but support LGBTQ+ causes and fight for a more inclusive world.
While there has been significant progress in achieving gender and sexual equality in different parts of the globe, just like any member of the LGBTQ+ community, a straight ally knows that there’s still much to do. And is not afraid of using their privilege and voice to help achieve this change.
Considering this aspect of activism, a straight ally is a non-queer supporter of gender equality, equal civil rights, and LGBTQ+ social movements. Some people who do all this however do not identify as straight allies – and a straight ally should also actively challenge transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia.
Put simply, you cannot be a straight ally if you support gay and lesbian rights but refuse to recognize transgender, non-binary or genderqueer rights. A straight ally is never the gatekeeper to the queer world and their role is never to define any aspect of the queer experience (or decided which identities are valid or invalid).
A straight ally aims to use their position of privilege as cisgender or heterosexual people in a society biased towards heteronormativity to bring down the inequalities of transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia. Many LGBTQ organizations involve straight members (including parents and family members), while others actively encourage cisgender or heterosexual people to participate.
Without straight allies, the queer rights movement would not be where it is today, and we can be thankful not just to queer activists but straight allies who actively used their position in society not to speak on behalf of but rather to amplify marginalized voices and perspectives.
A good example is the change straight allies can help achieve is the gay-straight alliance popular in schools in the USA and now around the world. This is a club run by students that bring together straight and LGBTQ students to use their platforms to fight transphobia and homophobia. Other groups unite the LGBTQ community and straight allies around the world – and are a good first step to walking the walk and discovering what does it mean to be a straight ally.
Straight Ally Pride Flag Meaning
There are many different LGBTQ flags representing most queer identities, so it should come as no surprise there is a flag for straight allies to proudly fly. Sadly, it isn’t known who made or designed the straight ally flag. However, what is known about it is that it was first used in the 2000s. The straight ally flag was created by combining the LGBTQ pride flag and the straight flag.
The straight ally flag doesn’t have the original LGBTQ pride flag colors made by Baker. This flag only uses the more modern six-colored flag without pink and turquoise. The straight ally flag represents unity and support towards the LGBTQ community.
Here’s what the straight ally flag means:
- The letter ‘A’ means ally
- The black and white stripes represent the straight flag.
- The rainbow colors in the letter ‘A’ are for the LGBT community.
Keep in mind that bearing this flag is not a trend. It comes with an understanding of the challenges that LGBTQ people face and knowing that you’re responsible for doing something about them.
In addition, just because there’s a straight ally flag doesn’t mean that brandishing the flag is a requirement for supporting the LGBTQ community. As a true ally, you will give your support in many different ways.
Other Straight Ally Information To Help You Be The Best Ally You Can Be
As a straight ally, your voice can be a powerful instrument in the LGBTQ movement. Here’s how you can be an LGBTQ ally:
Be open to learning and educate yourself.
You can start being an ally by understanding how society views or treats people in the LGBTQ community. You should be open and willing to learn.
Listen to what people around you say about their personal stories and ask questions only if they’re ready. If they are, make sure you’re respectful in your delivery. Learn about LGBTQ+ history, their struggles, and the terminologies they use.
Check Your privilege
There are different kinds of privileges existing in society today. It could be being in a wealthier class, racial, being able-bodied, or straight. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ve never had any challenges or struggles.
Privilege means that there are things you’ve never and probably will never have to worry about due to how you were born. Understanding that you come from a place of privilege helps you empathize with oppressed and marginalized communities.
As a straight ally, you shouldn’t assume that everyone else is straight. Understand that not everyone goes by ‘he/him’ or ‘she/her’ pronouns. You can’t tell someone’s sexuality just by looking at them, and you can’t also tell someone’s preferred pronouns unless you ask them.
As a good straight ally, you allow the LGBT people close to you to be who they are and open up to you more by not making assumptions.
Ally is more of an action than a label.
Calling yourself a straight ally isn’t enough. You have to show action by calling out oppression and being consistent in your advocacy efforts for LGBTQ rights.
Call out oppression and discrimination of LGBTQ people at work, home, school, or in other social situations. Attend protests and pride rallies. Educate your other straight friends. Be a champion and a defender. Walk that walk, honey!
Confront your unconscious bias and prejudices
As an ally, you will need to challenge the assumptions, stereotypes, and biases you’ve had towards the LGBTQ community. These include the wrong usage of pronouns, jokes you make, or assuming people’s gender or sex because of how they look or who they’re with.
Be open to the idea that you may sometimes be wrong or make mistakes. Apologize in such situations, and move on as fast as you can.
The language you use matters.
We use language to form connections. When someone changes their name or their nickname, we’re mostly ok with it. Therefore, it would only make sense for us to accept LGBTQ people’s usage of pronouns and their name changes.
If you aren’t sure of the pronouns someone uses, ask them respectfully. Use inclusive language when you speak to people and make space for LGBTQ people to be themselves. If you’re addressing a crowd, remember to use gender-neutral terms and adopt everyday language that LGBTQ people appreciate.
You might even consider getting a queer enamel pin or badge that showcases your pronouns so that those around you know they are in a safe place. By normalizing that use of pronouns (including email signatures) the world will be just that much better off.
If you make a mistake, apologize, ask for guidance, and move on.
If you’re learning how to be an ally, you might make mistakes somewhere along the way. You might use the wrong pronouns with a transgender or non-binary person. If it happens, correct your error as soon as you can and apologize. Try not to make a big deal about it – You’re learning how to be an ally and are still working on it.
Add that you’d appreciate it if they could correct you if you make a mistake like that again.