Stop the Straights

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not.

Old joke? Yes. Bad joke? Yes. Am I sorry? No. Am I straight? Also no. And that’s all that matters for now.

You may have heard that Scarlett Johansson was recently cast to play a transgender man in an upcoming film. My thoughts on this matter are extensive, and worthy of a post of their own, though it’s more likely that I’m going to make a video on it because it’s easier to YELL in video format. (Caps lock just loses its effect after a while, ya know?) But it brought into focus some of the friction between the LGBTQ+ community and the Straights.

I’ve been very vocal about my queerness basically ever since I came out, because hey, anything worth doing is worth doing loud, right? And lately that’s been taking the form of that brand of gay humor that essentially boils down to “straight people are the worst” and “down with cis” etc. (If you have to google what cisgender is, it’s probably you.)

Unsurprisingly, a lot of straighties don’t like this. The reaction is much like what happens when people of color make fun of white people, or when women make fun of men. It’s all “well not all straight people” and “we can’t help it” and so on. But I’m not sorry, and I don’t take it back.

‘Cause here’s the thing, chums. Our society has put in place structures that hold white people above people of color, men above women, and cis-straight people above any LGBTQ+ person. That’s just the facts.

So when a straight person makes a joke about gay people, they are helping to strengthen the structures that keep queer people as being perceived as lesser. But when it’s the other way around, that is queer people fighting back against those structures and saying no, you can’t put us down like that. It’s why slurs get reclaimed and gay people make jokes about themselves. It’s the community’s way of taking back the weapons that cis-straight people have used for most of history to tear us down, turning them back on those same cis-straight people and asking, “How does it feel?” More often than not, the answer is not good.

It’s the difference between punching up and punching down. Making fun of people that society has deemed lesser is kicking someone when they’re already down. When we make fun of ourselves, that’s just gallows humor, cause we’re the ones on the gallows. When you make fun of us, you’re just a part of the rabble gathered to see the hanging.

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