If you want to help the community by attending LGBTQ parties and celebrations, you will need to do some research before actually participating in an event. Straight couples, singles, and cisgender persons are all welcome, but you will have to follow some rules. So keep reading to find out about the essential rules for straight people when attending LGBTQ parties!
Understand What Pride Is About
Firstly, it would be unethical to attend LGBTQ gatherings in order to judge and laugh at other people.
If you want to participate, the first rule is to learn as much as you can about the community. That includes the struggles that LGBTQ people are facing along with some history. It’s also necessary to understand the meaning of being an ally. So try to do some research. Learn about the ways in which you could share support for your friends, family, coworkers, and others that you encounter.
Pride parades are held worldwide. All of them are about celebration and promotion. They generally involve millions of LGBTQ people who are trying to raise awareness of various issues. But they’re also there to remind us of the importance of human connection and love. Pride celebrations and other events are all about the LGBTQ social group and its struggle for equality, dignity, self-affirmation, visibility, and sexual diversity.
It’s Not About You
Even if you can relate to some of the previously mentioned values as a straight person, know that Pride is not about that. Regardless of how helpful you are, if you have a personal agenda or if you wish to put the spotlight on you, it’s better not to attend. Also, if you want to join just so that you can party, drink a ton of alcohol, and cover yourself in glitter or rainbows, it may be best to reconsider.
If you join a Pride parade, you need to know about the cause and the context. Pride is also a way of paying tribute to those who have given up their freedom and their lives for this cause. So you will need to be respectful of the event and decenter yourself. Remember that it is not a spectacle or an event curated simply for your entertainment. Some of the examples we’ve outlined are actually discriminatory and wrong.
Watch Your Language
Unfortunately, our society still needs to get used to the correct terminology regarding sexuality. Before you attend, you should get familiar with the appropriate terms and phrases. Also, avoid any heterosexual bias in your language.
Of course, that is not easy. You may be used to saying things in a certain way that resonates with your heterosexual personality. Still, if you make a mistake and use the wrong terminology unconsciously, be open about it and apologize. For instance, know that reclaimed slurs like “queer” are acceptable only if queer people use them. If you are straight, do not use this term. However, it’s likely that you won’t be thrown out for such mistakes. The community may be open to new allies of LGBTQ. They may not take offense if they see that you didn’t use a slur on purpose.
However, using derogatory language and outright mocking people is definitely not acceptable. If you want to make jokes, insults, or provoke someone with your language, you should not come to an LGBTQ event.
LGTBQ parties are full of diversity. There will be things that you are not used to seeing in your everyday life. That includes drag queens, naked people, people dressed in leather, etc. Plus, you will also see a lot of kissing and other kinds of PDAs.
Since Pride is a celebration, people may tend to go all-out. A parade can be quite wild, simply because it’s a safe place for people to relax, have fun, or even show acts of rebellion.
With all this in mind, it is not appropriate to stare, gawk, or point fingers. Like we’ve said, the event is not focused on you, and it is not supposed to be a spectacle for your enjoyment. Also, you shouldn’t laugh, gasp, snicker, etc. What’s more, sharing your thoughts with a friend while whispering could also be rude.
Be Mindful of What You Take Pictures Of
As mentioned above, you will see many unfamiliar sights and activities if you attend Pride. If you simply want to take photos for the fun of it, it could be smarter to turn off your phone or leave your camera behind. Gay pride parades offer a safe and private space to LGBTQ members. This means that you could harm someone’s identity if you take a photo of them and share it on social media. Unfortunately, many people are still hiding their sexual identity in public, and Pride is one of the only events in which they can openly show it. If you take a picture of a bear in a leather thong, they may not want their coworkers or bosses to somehow get ahold of that photo.
Nevertheless, Pride is an event in a public space, and you will not commit a crime if you snap some photos. But you should always ask first and get consent. Taking random photos without permission could be disrespectful.
Don’t Assume the Gender Identity of Other People
This is a very easy rule to break, especially since Pride is filled with gender diversity. If you truly wish to offer your support, you should disregard all of your expectations regarding gender presentation.
You will see a completely new set of identities, including binary, non-binary, trans, cisgender gay, drag performers, and much more. It may not be easy to know the gender identity of all the people that you encounter.
If you turn that into a guessing game, it will be incredibly impolite and disrespectful. It’s especially harmful to transgender persons. Like we’ve said, Pride enables LGBTQ folks to forget about their worries and feel comfortable. Making assumptions will limit those freedoms. The same applies to inappropriate questions regarding gender identity. If you disregard this, you will be objectifying and even stigmatizing the LGBTQ community.
Don’t Panic When Someone Hits on You
Pride festivals are held for the purposes of visibility and celebration. But they also offer a great opportunity for LGBTQ persons to meet each other.
That’s why you could see or experience a lot of flirting at Pride events. While the LGBTQ participants are usually fully aware their orientations may not be shared by all of the attendees, it’s common that someone could hit on you. You should get ready for that. It’s unlikely that you will experience any harassment. However, you shouldn’t act out against people who took the opportunity to flirt with you or check you out.
Moreover, be mindful of how you behave because people could misunderstand your actions. If you are not careful, you could lead someone to believe that you are interested.
Also, there’s a big chance that you could become attracted to a trans person. If you think that they’re hot, don’t freak out. It’s completely normal. It doesn’t change the way you feel about your sexual orientation. Still, you shouldn’t attend if you simply want to fulfill your kinky fetish or fantasy and look for people that will make it come true.
Make Donations or Help Out
Finally, donations are always welcome. Most events are free, and several organizations are responsible for them. This is not easy, and it requires a lot of time and resources. In most instances, those organizations are led by volunteers who are working for free. Additionally, most of the resources come from donations and partnerships. If you want to attend the events, it would be helpful if you could donate a modest sum to the cause.
What’s more, you can also take the initiative and help out if you do not have the means to donate. You can raise awareness on social networks and let other straight folks know about the importance of Pride. Also, if you get in touch with an organization, you could probably find a way to volunteer and help out like that.
Pride is undoubtedly the most important event for the LGBTQ community. You shouldn’t treat it as a bachelorette party where you can get wild with a bunch of strangers. The event is not held to provide amusement for straight people. If you wish to attend, stick by the rules that we’ve outlined. Respect the LGBTQ space and try to offer support if you can. Good luck!