Today is Straight People Day — a holiday that happens whenever we say it happens, OKAY! Okay! (Especially if it’s during a fundraiser!)
On this special day, we encourage our community of queers to reach out to the straight people in their lives who could use to shoulder a little bit of the weight of keeping queer media around! Because what is one thing straight people can do to be an ally to the LGBTQ community? It’s supporting us having our own spaces, with their own dollars.
Don’t have straight people in your life who would support? Sounds like you might be interested in signing up for A+ (if you’re not already a member) so you can read an excerpt from our Slack channel where many of us realize the same thing!
First up, if you’re here because you want to know how to be an LGBTQ ally, then we can tell you that one of the best ways to do that is by converting your straight dollars to gay dollars and investing them right here in queer media and community. If you’re gay (something we think is very likely if you’re here) and just wanted peek in on what everyone’s saying, there is some good stuff in here!
So, in honor of Straight People Day, we present a series of short interviews we conducted with some noted allies in our lives. Because, as we all know, being an ally is a verb and is not the same as calling yourself one. Are the people we interviewed friends, but also maybe cats or our past selves? Yes, the answer is yes.
Valerie Anne, Writer
An interview with Bridget Liszewski, Valerie’s friend
Valerie Anne: Hello, my token straight friend! As an ally, you could be quietly supportive but you always make a point to speak up for us. Why are you so vocal about your support for the LGBTQ+ community (and Autostraddle specifically!) despite you and your immediate family being straight?
Bridget: I wish I had a better answer for you beyond it’s the right thing to do and I want to support my friends. While I have no queer people in my immediate family, my parents always stood for equality and above all, treating others the way you want to be treated. Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve seen firsthand the prejudices, judgements, and hardships so many of my queer friends face every single day by simply existing and being their beautiful selves. Standing up and saying I support them, that I support the work they are doing, and that I have their back is no different from exactly what they would all do for me.
As for supporting Autostraddle, I’ve learned how important it is for queer people to feel seen and heard, to find others that feel the same way they do. Autostraddle is that to so many people. It has a unique ability to reach so many people who may be sitting alone somewhere feeling like no one truly sees or gets them. You also write for Autostraddle and love it. Since I enjoy seeing my friends happy doing something they love, then I want to support Autostraddle so it’ll stick around for you.
Valerie Anne: At what point did you look around and realize how many queer friends you had, and how did that make you feel?
Bridget: It was probably during Season 2 of Wynonna Earp that I realized how many queer people had entered my inner circle. We all bonded over a fun demon-hunting show, which meant our conversations rarely centered on the fact that I was straight and they were queer. I won’t say I didn’t see their queerness, or that it didn’t matter to me, because it’s who they are. They are different from me, but I also have plenty of straight friends who are not exactly like me. However, it has been my queer friends who have taught me the most about being brave, the importance of speaking up more, and how to love harder, all by simply existing and letting me spend time in their orbits.
Valerie Anne: What does being a good ally mean to you?
Bridget: It means recognizing my privilege as a straight person and using whatever platform I have to uplift and make space for queer people. It means putting my money where my mouth is, if possible, and supporting queer causes. It’s doing the work on my own to learn and educate myself and not expecting the queer people in my life to teach me everything. Sure, I can have questions for them, but when I do I need to make sure they are educated and respectful. A good ally can’t be afraid of making mistakes, and when you do mess up, you must be open to hearing and receiving feedback.
Valerie Anne: Thank you for these beautiful earnest answers, I have but one more question for you: If Lena Luthor suddenly appeared in front of you and asked you on a date, would you re-consider your commitment to straightness.
Bridget: I don’t call myself a Lenasexual for nothing!
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer
An interview with Becca James, Kayla’s best friend
Kayla: Ok. Becca. My token straight friend. How do you feel about being my token straight friend?
Becca: I’m super grateful to be your friend in general, but as your token straight friend I feel especially fortunate to be welcome in the queer spaces you occupy. Some of my favorite memories are being in those spaces with you. Like I ended my wedding night at Henrietta Hudson! I’m not sure that would have been the case if you weren’t our witness that day.
Kayla: I was going to bring up your wedding day, because imo you had the gayest straight wedding ever. You and your husband eloped, and your courthouse witnesses were me and my ex, and then my ex and I dramatically broke up not too long after, but we’re both still in a lot of your wedding photos, so in a way, lesbian drama is forever embedded in your wedding day. AND you ended the night at Henrietta. Gay!
Becca: I also love when you call out things that are straight about me like…pearl earrings?
Kayla: Your pearl earrings are straight culture, and I love them. It also feels important to let readers know that the first time we hung out I thought it was maybe possible we were on a date. Autostraddle has a whole podcast now called Wait, Is This A Date and…relatable!
Becca: Funny thing is I’ve literally only once in my life thought I was on a date…bc a guy asked me on a date. Otherwise nah.
Kayla: Hahahahaha wait, so straight people also experience this confusion?!
Becca: My friend asked me about my worst dates, and I was like me? I’ve never been on a date! Lololol so maybe I just have trouble admitting or knowing I’ve dated. What is a date????
Kayla: You should listen to the podcast if you haven’t! And on that note, I do know for a fact that you read Autostraddle regularly. Why is that?
Becca: It’s fucking good! Truly everything you want from a publication. If you engage with the writing, you’ll be laughing and crying and screaming and learning and oh no, is this starting to sound like The L Word intro?
Becca: I also like that it isn’t afraid to go there, wherever that may be. You can tell the people who make it take it seriously, but it’s never stuffy like some of these legacy publications or even the queer offshoots they produce.
Kayla: It’s a big part of why these fundraisers are so important!
Becca: Agree, and the fundraising store is always SO GOOD!
Kayla: There you have it folks! My straight friend (who referenced The L Word, so like, IS she????) thinks you should donate to Autostraddle’s fundraiser!
Himani Gupta, Contributor
An interview with Himani, circa 2017
Himani: Hi, younger, confused, self, speaking to you from the other side, as it were. Tell me, why do you read Autostraddle?
Himani: The site R., your now-ex, told you about.
2017-Himani: Wait, “now-ex”?! I have so many questions… But anyway, so yeah, that site. Well, as you know, I was friends with a lot of cis white gay men in college, my best friend at the time was part of that community, and… it was complicated. I think, for a lot of reasons, I could feel safe in that community in a way that I couldn’t anywhere else. There’s a certain amount of fluidity around gender which being LGBTQ+ naturally encompasses, which I really appreciate, especially in contrast to all the machismo I saw in the men around me at a big football/party/frat school. And yet, at the same time, it took me years to realize how much misogyny and racism, both latent and also incredibly explicit, I put up with at the hands of cis white gay men.
I’ve honestly been out of touch with all of those people for years now. And while I read the news as it concerns LGBTQ+ rights, I haven’t previously sought out LGBTQ+ media specifically because so many of the big-name LGBTQ+ websites are really centered around gay men. So, I really appreciated when R. told me about Autostraddle because I like getting perspectives from LGBTQ+ people who are not cis men.
Although, I have to say, Autostraddle feels very white.
Himani: Oh, don’t worry, that’s changed a lot in the last four years. There’s been some big leadership changes and a lot of new staff and writing from people of color. Also hi, you write here now!
2017-Himani: Wait, so–
Himani: Nope, I can’t reveal too much to you, yet. Next question: why should straight people like yourself donate to independent queer media like Autostraddle?
2017-Himani: Honestly, I’m not really sure…
Himani: No worries, I got this. So since I started writing here, I’ve learned A LOT about the state of the media and… it is not pretty. Actually Riese wrote a great piece about the dire state of media last year that you should [will] read. Independent media, and especially media made by and for marginalized communities, needs our support now more than ever.
But most of all, as you will shortly learn, sometimes you spend your whole life assuming you’re straight and then you realize… that’s just an unexamined assumption you’ve been making all this time. And when you finally stop to examine it, believe me when I say that you want a place like Autostraddle to be here for you.
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer + Editor
An interview with Sarge and Benny, the internet’s favorite cat brothers
Heather: Sarge and Benny, hi! Thank you both so much for taking time out of your busy schedule of being famous, snoggling, eating gongurts, and being baby (Benny only) to talk about how you’re also LGBTQ+ allies!
Sarge: W’ell I am answoring this from my towel baskit so I am very comfie !!
Benny: LBGQT+ :)
Sarge: He saying he likes our LGBTQ+ friemds
Heather: You both do a great job protecting the timeline and making sure Cat Twitter is a safe as possible place for all queer and trans humans and cats. How come you decided to do that? You could have just been cute! But you decided to be cute AND brave AND outspoken on behalf of LGBTQ+ friends!
Sarge: I’m do this because i’m love all my friemds online and thimk they deserve a safe space to look at cute pictors of me (Sorg)
Benny: Love everywon!!!! Beny fremds :)
trans people are VALIDE AND LOVFED by me (sorg) and many othors !!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/RrJ0amSR2v
— Sorcerer Sarge 🪄 (@sarge_the_kitty) June 7, 2020
Heather: Sarge, I remember when you said “trans people are VALIDE AND LOVFED by me (sorg) and many othors !!!!!!!!” It made me very happy! Do you have any other words of encouragement for queer and trans people?
Sarge: Oh yes ! W’ell i’m would just say .. be yourselp and donot let anyone tell you not to be because you are porfect and loved by me (Sorg) and if you want to give me a gogort treat, that is okey too !
TRAMS RITES !! GAY RITES !!! FORVEVR !!!! :)) pic.twitter.com/cj89tjdYYX
— Benny the Bat 🦇 (@benny_the_kitty) February 11, 2021
Heather: And Benny, I remember when YOU said “TRAMS RITES !! GAY RITES !!! FORVEVR !!!! :))” which also made me very happy! Do you have any good positive words of love for your queer and trans human friends?
Benny: Ya :) Love each odder ! Beny love you!! I’m share my toys with you :)
Sarge: He is a bad sharer
Heather: Your mom is always taking a stand about how Cat Twitter is inclusive or get lost! Does she make you feel braver and safer?
Sarge: Yeh my momb is very safe plase for me (Sorg) because sometime i’m get scared so she cuddle me. So she do this for cat twittor too. Be safe plase for cuddles or help.
Benny: Mome :)
Heather: Now, Benny AND Sarge, can you say who is your favorite queer or trans TV character?
Sarge: My favorit is Theo from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina .. he is so coole and good friemd!
Benny: too busy playing with toy to watch teevee :)
Heather: You boys both love the Yankees, but have you also ever considered watching the WNBA or NWSL? Just one idea because it’s sports with lots of gays!
Sarge: W’ell ,, I donot have thumbs to turn on the teevee , but i’m will ask my momb!!
Benny: too busy play with toyes to watch teevee !!!! ok maybe will watch a little before my nap :)
Heather: One more question! Do you think people should give to Autostraddle’s fundraiser to keep queer independent media alive?
Sarge: YEH!!! Give to fundraser so queer media can keep making good things !
Benny: Give monie please :) Help autostraddol :)
Heather: Thank you, dear friends. I’ll let you get back to being baby now (Benny only). I know you’ve got a lot of work to do before your baby (human) sister gets here!