The most hypocritial comment I hear from “allies” on a regular basis is, “I don’t care what people do in the bedroom, but I don’t want to hear about it, you know?”
These people who consider themselves allies of the LGBTQ+ community believe that they’re being accepting of queer people—that, because they don’t mind that LGBTQ+ people, you know, exist, they’re not queerphobic. They don’t seem to understand that not wanting to see, hear about, or acknowledge LGBTQ+ people is still discriminatory and just as harmful as beingoutwardly queerphobic.
Coming out of the closet is one of the most difficult and terrifying things that a queer person can do. It’s by no means required—there is no gay bible that decrees all LGBTQ+ people must be out—but for many, being out and proud is more comfortable than forcing down one’s own identity. Unfortunately, even if people claim to be supportive of their LGBTQ+ friends and family, they might not realize that many of their actions and words are painful to endure.
Not wanting to call trans and nonbinary people by their chosen name and pronouns because the change is hard is transphobic. Telling gay friends that you don’t want to hear about their relationship sheerly because it’s gay is homophobic. Claiming that bisexuality is just a phase of confusion is biphobic.
These microaggressions add up quickly and can cause serious emotional damage. LGBTQ+ people already have to deal with internalized hate, fear, and—in severe cases—threats to their lives. Having their loved ones tell them that they don’t want to meet their significant other or call them by the right name is discouraging and can cause them to feel rejected and depressed.
Try to remember that when someone comes out or requests that you use new pronouns for them, it’s not about you. They worked up the confidence to make themselves vulnerable to hate and aggression because they trust that you won’t do it to them. Shove down whatever discomfort you feel, smile, and show your support.