Great reflections here Trish! Thanks for sharing your insights and your struggles. I appreciate your honesty about the challenge it would be for you to show up at a pride parade. As I mentioned in the other thread to Joy, straight people also have a “coming out” process as they figure out how to become an ally to people who are marginalized. It feels political to allies, but it feels extremely personal and supportive to queer people when a straight or cis person steps up to support them. Interestingly, by virtue of my being gay, I have had a bit of an easier time supporting other minorities. For example, Friday night I went to an event in our town protesting the border camps. Had I not experienced the marginalization of being gay, it might feel less urgent for me to speak out for other groups. And, of course, I am still on my journey as well, and there are areas I haven’t fully “come out” in support of “the other” in the way I need to.
So glad to hear that you have some lesbian friends! I think personal relationships is the way to get beyond the “political” spectrum and see people as human beings. I wonder what it would have been like if one of those lesbian friends had invited you to go to the parade (and of course that you didn’t have to worry about blood counts)? Or if you had asked if you could tag along? Might be something to consider. I would have been very impressed that a straight friend who wasn’t too sure about pride parades expressed interest or asked me questions about it.
Chick-Fil-A is a flash point among LGBTQ people. On the rare occasions that I go, I have highly conflicted feelings about it. I get it that the people in that particular fast food restaurant don’t make decisions about where the corporate money goes. But it is very hard for me to patronize a place whose corporate leaders do not respect me. I feel in many ways that they do not deserve my money–even if it is just the cost of a grilled chicken sandwich.
I’m not sure how many straight people are aware, but there are magazines and books published regularly that tell us which businesses, tourist attractions, and B&Bs are hospitable to LGBTQ folks. I have used those regularly when I make decisions about who I’m going to do business with. Of course there is also the “word of mouth” method on a more local scale. Here in my town there is one OB-GYN that almost all the lesbians go to because she has the reputation of respecting us. And to my knowledge she hasn’t broadcast any kind of “open and affirming” message. We just all know it.
I think what I loved most about your post was in your final paragraph. I’m glad all this is making you “think and rethink” how you behave. By nature, I too am a very cautious person who does not want to offend. But if no one ever speaks up, how is a culture going to grow and mature? Thanks for being on this journey with us!