How are cishet people viewed in general in the LGBTQ community?

First of all I’d like to apologize in advance for any insensitive statements I might make (I hope I don’t though), I’m trying my best not to and I was just curious :)

I’m an 18-year-old cishet guy currently in uni and recently the thought popped into my head that I have no clue how the LGBTQ community would view me as someone who’s not in the space or actively an ally. I would more accurately describe myself currently as a “don’t care” person in the sense that to me it genuinely does not matter what someone identifies as or who someone is attracted to. I don’t know how much this means, but I have multiple gay friends, my roommate is bi and I dated a person who went as a girl in day to day life because it was more convenient to her/them although she/they told me she/they partially identified as nonbinary (correct pronoun usage pls >.<) but I don’t know if all this is the classic “but i have a black friend” argument that racists use.

To cut to the point: I’m curious as to how I would be seen by queer people in general, as I’ve witnessed both very inclusive and nice people (mostly here), but also some that said that LGBTQ places are not to be used by cishet people and I’m wondering what the best attitude to take would be.

Thanks!

leigh,
@leigh@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

Other people here are already doing a great job of covering the “what we think” and “whether welcome in queer spaces or not” aspects of your question, so let me dive into this part instead:

…someone who’s not in the space or actively an ally. I would more accurately describe myself currently as a “don’t care” person in the sense that to me it genuinely does not matter what someone identifies as or who someone is attracted to.

Ever watch the TV show Ted Lasso? There was a scene in the final season where one of the players on the football (soccer) team came out as gay. The other players tell him they “don’t care”, meaning to be supportive but not actually succeeding. Ted gives a speech and, as his character admits afterward, makes a poor comparison — but still does a good job of communicating to the others that they should care. www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcaUZ9R0y2c

So, like… I’m glad you’re not antagonizing any of us, but that’s just kind of the bare minimum for being decent, you know? And that is somewhat similar to racial discrimination: as a white person in North America, telling Black people I “don’t care that they’re Black” would tell them I haven’t considered that being Black is something core to their identity and how they experience the world because of the way society works. It would tell them I still see whiteness as the “default” but it’s “okay” to be something else. It would tell them that I might say something if I witnessed blatant racism happening, but they shouldn’t count on me to do so because I haven’t made any effort to learn how racism actually works and I might back down if I feel speaking up would put myself at any risk. But I do care, so I try to educate myself, and I look for opportunities to practice anti-racism. I absolutely make mistakes, but they tend to be easily forgiven so long as I show a willingness to listen, learn, and try.

But hey… I freely admit that I was way older than 18 when I finally started listening to people and began understanding all of this! So I absolutely don’t mean to “rake you over the coals” or anything. I just tell you these things because I hope you grow into a better person faster than I managed to. 🙂💜

Gaywallet,
@Gaywallet@beehaw.org avatar

One other bit to add here to this fantastic post - sometimes people like to over-correct their speech, and it’s actually a form of deflection. The classic example of this is “I don’t see race” when talking to someone bringing up an issue with bigotry. Often times people are trying to quickly get across that they don’t think they’re racist or that this wouldn’t happen or apply to how they think. But it’s also a lie, they do see race, what they meant to say is that they don’t use race for a determination of value or to discriminate in this context.

To make it really clear why it’s a wrong statement, in case anyone doesn’t see how it’s an over correction, is to imagine it’s another characteristic such as ability. Would you tell a person in a wheelchair that you ‘don’t see disability’? An unhoused individual that you ‘don’t see income/housing’? A divorced person that you ‘don’t see marriage’? These are real human characteristics and attributes, they absolutely exist and we shouldn’t focus on erasing them.

millie,

I see this happening so often and it honestly just baffles me. It costs nothing to actually take the time to care and to acknowledge when things aren’t the way they should be. Even when you screw up yourself, the outcome is soo much better so quickly when you’re willing to just say “I hadn’t thought of that, I didn’t mean to make things worse”, or “you’re right, that sucks”. Just that acknowledgement makes such a big difference.

People are terrified of acknowledging any sort of privilege or discrimination or even just significant difference sometimes, maybe because they feel like it’ll make them feel like they’re on the outside or something? But acknowledging oppression in a world that denies it is exactly what puts you on the same page with other people when they’re suffering, not joining in on insisting that everything is fine.

It’s so much easier not to be a jerk. But I think people get caught up in this idea that their thoughts in any given moment are the be all and end all of what they are. Growth isn’t permissible because growth implies that something is wrong in the first place. I suppose in a punitive-minded society it makes some sort of sense.

Bozicus,

I see that you don’t mean any offense, but this is an odd question as written. You’re basically asking what an extremely large, diverse group of people thinks about an even larger, more diverse group of people, and there’s no way to give an accurate answer. We have all kinds of thoughts about cishet people, some unkind, some sympathetic, and most of us have cishet friends and family members. I’d say that on average, LGBTQ+ people have a more negative opinion of cishet people than cishet people have of themselves, because, on average, cishet people do not understand LGBTQ+ people, and in some cases, actively hate us. It’s hard not to think of cishet people as a group as, in some way, hostile, even though not every cishet person is in any way a threat. We can’t tell which ones are going to hurt us, intentionally or otherwise, so we lean towards caution and distrust.

I personally trust cishet people as a group less than I used to, because I just see more and more disappointing things over time. But it’s not a case of going from “I think cishet people are ok” to “I think cishet people are bad,” it’s a case of going from"I think cishet people are ok," full stop, to “I think cishet people are ok, but am I going to be disappointed again today?” And, to be clear, I don’t get disappointed just because someone accidentally says something offensive, that happens all the time. I can usually tell when people mean well, and I know it’s hard to get it right when you don’t know what it feels like to be on the other side. I do get disappointed when someone says or does something that lets me know they would be happier if I didn’t exist. That’s very different from just saying something awkward out of ignorance, and it happens more than I like to acknowledge.

As for your second, more specific question, how LGBTQ+ people would view you in particular, I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I think you seem nice, but you also seem to be missing one of the most important aspects of the distinction between cishet and not, which is that as a cishet person, you have the option of saying you don’t care about gender and sexuality. No one is going to beat you up because you’re cishet, and you can go about your business without ever worrying about it. As a trans, queer person, I don’t have that option. Someone might beat me up because I’m trans and queer, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t think it’s a big deal. Other people do think it’s a big deal, and they can make it a big deal for me in the worst possible way. I have to worry about how cishet people see me, while they don’t have to worry about how I see them. They outnumber me, and are more likely to be in positions of power than LGBTQ+ people, so they are more likely to make trouble for me than vice versa.

… except in explicitly queer spaces. In those spaces, LGBTQ+ people will usually outnumber cishet people, and if cishet people come in and give us grief, we can push back. Some of us can’t push back anywhere else, and it can make a big difference to have literally any space where it’s okay to tell someone to go be cishet somewhere else, politely or otherwise. Any cishet person will eventually be told something like that if they spend a lot of time in LGBTQ+ spaces, usually not because they are bad people, or even because they did anything wrong, but just because we are really tired of having to put up with people who don’t understand. If it happens to you, just remind yourself that the person yelling at you had probably gotten to the point where they were like, “if I hear one more straight person talk about their gay friend as a reason why they don’t have to remember my pronouns, so help me…” (Yes, it’s a little like “I have a black friend,” but there’s a difference between mentioning that as your experience, which is what you did, and using it as an excuse for bad behavior, which you are not. But being friends with people who are queer or trans just gives you information about those people, not queer or trans people in general, so be careful about drawing conclusions).

I see a lot of cishet people in queer spaces absolutely lose their minds over getting yelled at by queer people, because they’re sure what they did wasn’t bad enough to justify the amount of yelling, and that always makes it worse. In general, if you get a response online that seems totally disproportionate to what you actually said or did, the response isn’t about you, and you don’t need to take it personally. You have the option of trying to clarify what actually happened, or of walking away, and the latter is often better for the well-being of all concerned.

And that brings me to the answer to your last question, about what attitude you should have going into queer spaces. I’d recommend going in with the idea that it’s not about you, whatever you find, and however you’re treated. You’ll be more welcome in some queer spaces than others, and also, at some times more than others. There’s nothing you can do to avoid that, although you can and should try to figure out what is most likely to upset people. You don’t need to understand why a particular thing upsets people, and you won’t be expected to understand or to get everything right, but you will be expected to apologize for something you didn’t mean to do. Some things are going to upset people no matter how good your intentions are, and you can’t control that, either.

Based on what other people are saying, you’ll probably be welcome here, and everything will be fine, and possibly I am a pessimistic old grouch who should go back to living under my bridge (lol). I have plenty of time for cishet people, even though I am an old grouch, and I hope you have only good experiences here. But maybe it’ll help you at some point to be aware of the grouchier side of the coin.

Parsnip8904,
@Parsnip8904@beehaw.org avatar

I’m really glad you asked this question. I’m older than you but fits similar description, cishet with some friends and colleagues who are LGBTQ+ , dated a girl once who was bi. I also would stand up for any of my friends if they were treated poorly or unjustly, or if their identities or preferences were badly talked about i.e. my parents had very negative impression of gay people due to prevalence of drug use and STDs in the local scene until I sat down and talked to them.

Unfortunately I’m also pretty neurodivergent so I don’t understand a lot of stuff about LGBTQ+ because it isn’t structured in a way that I can understand. I wish someone made a programmers guide to LGBTQ+ or something :)

The upshot is that I struggle with the same dilemma as you do. A while back one of my favourite programs changed their icon to a rainbow one in support of LGBTQ community. I heavily criticized for a) saying that I wish they had told this before hand or given an option to retain the old one because I found the change jarring b) could they be transparent about what they’re doing for LGBTQ+ people in terms of donating money or workplace policy because it felt a little bit like an empty gesture.

The upshot is that I have no clue how people in this community would view me in the context of how hard it would be for me to interact with them (I already struggle with you’re creepy/emotionless bias when meeting new people, if I’m doing something to offend them on top of that then it’s going to be even more of a struggle).

The answers here have been really illuminating whr varied. So thank you to all the people who answered as well :)

PupBiru,
PupBiru avatar

i’m not going to respond to everything you’ve said, not because it’s not all great and important, but because there are definitely shades of grey that i don’t want to engage with right now

i’m a gay, cis male, kinkster, software engineer so if you have any particular questions that you’d like answered in a kind of… procedural? imperative? “scientific”? kind of way, i’d be happy to try either here in public or DM somewhere if you don’t feel comfortable :)

as for the icon change, i can totally understand how that’d be jarring! i don’t super want to get into a back and forth about merits, because as i said: grey area, and i don’t really know where i fall on solutions… both LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergence are categories that definitely need recognition!

that being said, here’s a brief explanation of why i believe rainbows are important (and bear in mind as well, that there’s definitely the “hollow gesture” aspect that’s a very active point of contention within queer communities! often we refer to it as pink-washing, in the same way as we use the term green-washing):

if we don’t have things like rainbows, pride, etc it can be really easy for people to say that queer issues have no support, that queer people don’t exist, that it’s not important. adding rainbows, even without actually doing anything supportive helps by normalising the idea that queer people exist everywhere. that’s important politically, socially, and just generally in our day to day lives.

it’s also really important visibility for queer people that haven’t yet found that part of themselves! that self discovery can be quite a big thing for a lot of people, and the more rainbows and visibility, the more normalised, the more people are confronted with the question “is this me?”… the second level to that is also that once they’ve thought that it may indeed be them, it shows them that it’s okay if it is them: less is going to change, because “people” around them are at least supportive enough to not care. more rainbows leads to more rainbows leads to more spaces where people can relax, ask questions about themselves, and find a place to just exist.

the change of icon might seem insignificant - and in a way it definitely is! but it’s a small part of a much larger and more important effort to help normalise the fact that queer is okay in any space, in every space: that it’s not abnormal, that you can be yourself and that’s okay.

such_lettuce7970,
such_lettuce7970 avatar

If I've just met you, with cautious optimism. I don't feel able to let my guard down until I have a better sense of you as an ally (or not). Having said that, at least a slight majority of people in my friend group are cishet, so it's not like I'm looking for reasons not to like un-queer folks :P

insurgenRat,

Let me plug into the hive mind real quick

connecting… … … Error: connection refused

Damn, I guess I’ll have to give my own personal opinion:

Most of the world is cishet, how could I possibly judge based on that? I will say fence sitters are the people that horrible people rely on being the majority in order to enable their horribleness.

Might want to reflect on what it is that enables you do sit out the fight, what kind of burden that places on other people, and whether it’s fair to do so.

hiyaaaaa23,

Prepare for my brutally honest feelings on cishets

My feelings on cishets is that you’re (on average) less interesting to me than queer people. With that said, have had a couple cishet friends in the past. You’re all fine. It’s not to say that you as a person are boring. But, Cishet is like the cardboard box of the gender/sexuality spectrum to me, incredibly mundane.

Idk how to explain it. Due to being LGBTQIA+ myself, queer people automatically get a +1 in my ranking of how much I am interested in interaction with you.

sculd,

While I am only speaking for myself this is at least true among my community.

We don’t really think about cishet people often. Its just not something that are particularly on our mind.

We usually only talk about them when we experience some kind of discrimination.

PotentiallyAnApricot,

I’ve kinda never thought about it. There are some places in the world with really active queer subcultures, or places where maybe “The Queer Community” feels like more of a concrete thing, but not where I’m from. Lots of my friends realized we were noncis or not heterosexual as we got older, but none of us ever were part of a “queer scene” or felt apart from or separate from straight people. In fact, many of us felt unable to access what we saw as Queer Culture ™ and regularly got read as straight - so I’m sure that informs my experience. People who are more visibly queer face more discrimination and may need to be more wary or stick closer to their own communities, depending where they live. But I think often ideas of “queer vs straight” dichotomies are not always real. Queer people in some places may have a distinct subculture, but i think life is like you describe ….you know some straight people, you know some non straight people, and they’re all just people you know. If you’re not a jerk on purpose, you’re an ally. If you’re a jerk by accident but stop when you realize it, then you’re not actually being a jerk, and you’re an ally. I think there is a lot of complex online discourse that may or may not apply to a person’s real life or apply to every context, and that I do not feel qualified to speak about really, and this can cause a lot of anxiety about the right way to act. And someone who has experienced a lot of hate might not feel as comfortable around straight people as other lgbtqia people. But in terms of my experience, I usually don’t know somebody’s sexuality right when i meet them, and I usually assume most people to be chill and neutral, unless they’re specifically being an asshole on purpose. The on purpose part is important.

verbalbotanics,

If I’m being honest, the only thing that would be strange to me is why wouldn’t you consider yourself an ally? It sounds like there are are a lot of important people in your life who are LGBT. I guess if you’re wondering about perception, someone who has a lot of queer friends but doesn’t want to stand up for them usually rings alarm bells in the LGBT community. Not saying that’s you, just in general.

But I will say from personal experience, allies are like gold for me. Love them all to death.

And no worries, I feel like it’s a respectful question. Hope you can keep learning!

Lumo,

Like I don’t feel like I’m an ally because I don’t really go out of my way to show it? I don’t really know how to explain it other than my sister who is very explicitly an ally, like she has a bunch of rainbow stuff in her room and on her backpack etc and has a lot of queer friends while on my end I don’t really show that? Like of course if someone was being a piece of shit towards my gay friends I’d step up and try and defend them, but that goes for any of my friends too?

Again I don’t really know how to word it but I don’t recognize myself in the term “ally” (although I’ve been considering putting a rainbow pin on my backpack or something because rainbows are cool)

verbalbotanics,

You don’t have to put rainbows on anything if you don’t want. I don’t even use rainbows!

The main thing is, when you hear someone in a cishet group spouting homophobia, be the one to say “hey that’s not cool”. Lots of people say they’re allies and put it on their social media and whatnot, but where it counts is just being able to stick up for us like you would for any mate when the time comes

leigh,
@leigh@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

💯 A cishet person who treats “ally” as a verb is WAY more helpful than one who only wears it as a noun.

Gaywallet,
@Gaywallet@beehaw.org avatar

I’m personally a fan of shifting language - anyone can be an ally, but being an advocate or a champion has a higher bar. At the end of the day, I absolutely respect this person’s hesitance to not take on the label of ally, because they feel like they aren’t doing enough for it to be valid. That’s a very considerate take.

PupBiru,
PupBiru avatar

TW: suicide

also great is someone who is a visible ally that can be someone to talk to! especially for young people: a teacher who puts an ally sticker on their laptop, or just says 1 time something that shows they’re not going to judge can make a huge impact on a young queer person having someone to talk to vs struggling quietly

being an ally can be a passive thing until you’re needed. you don’t have to “fight the fight” every day: queer people sure don’t either!

and sometimes, that’s the difference between a queer person living a happy life and deciding to end it before it’s begun

Zyansheep,

I’m curious as to how I would be seen by queer people in general

Idk about other people, but if we met in person, I’d probably see you as a human-shaped sentient organism who seems friendly :)

violetraven,
@violetraven@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

Treating us like humans is all we ask. We’re all different and while I would initially approach with caution if I know you’re being sincere then cool. We’re not asking for performative liberal woke points bs. We know those types can be full of shit when they’re out of the public eye. I’d take 10s of you over any one of them

Lumo,

That’s in a way a bit what I’m wondering about, like I don’t want to come off as performative so I usually wouldn’t bring it up except if the context made it relevant, but I also don’t know if not explicitly supporting the LGBTQ community is passively enabling bigotry or something

WalrusDragonOnABike,

Eww, allocishets. Don't give us cooties! /s

Not really sure what you expect. Queer people generally are probably going to be more comfortable around similar queer people because they are probably safer around them and don't have to deal with weird tiptoeing around things like:

to her/them although she/they told me she/they partially identified as nonbinary (correct pronoun usage pls >.<) but I don’t know if all this is the classic “but i have a black friend” argument that racists use.

where they may have good intentions and all, but make things a bit awkward by over-focusing on it (and also may come off as being more worried about how others perceive them than actually caring about the other people sometimes).

Lumo,

In this case yeah, it’s formulated quite awkwardly by me since (I’m just gonna stick to she) she goes by she/her in daily life, but online she uses she/them and she told me she felt nonbinary to some degree although she hadn’t told anyone else so I didn’t really know what pronouns to use so I thought “let’s roll with both”.

Her exact words were something like “I just go by as female because I don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to explain to people” so I actually don’t know what she’d prefer in an ideal world

Bozicus,

You don’t have to know what pronouns she would prefer in an ideal world, just which ones she is using right now. If she’s going by she/her, and isn’t open about possibly being nonbinary, then you should probably keep using she/her until she tells you to do something different. But if you’re really that confused, you could ask. You can also always use they/them as a default when you’re not sure, especially online.

ArumiOrnaught,

"I'll just have a beater car because one that isn't damaged is too expensive."

I bet your sister has had a lot of roommates too.

WalrusDragonOnABike,

No problem.

Also relatable. At least in this context, you could just switch between using she and they at different parts instead of using both everytime to convey they use both.

Pitri,
@Pitri@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

If you’re respectful to others, you’re good.

Generally, I’m really careful about forming an opinion about people without knowing more about them. Each person deserves to be judged by their individual character and actions, not by the group they belong to.

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