You’ve got a friend
We asked writer Justin Myers (also known as blogger The Guyliner) what he thinks it takes to be a good LGBT+ ally.
It can be hard to admit you need someone. We all want to stand on our own, forge a path, take charge of our own destiny. But we must all rely on others at some point, whether it’s the oldest-looking, hottest friend
to go buy cider for us to drink on the swings aged 13, or allies who won’t use our gender or sexual orientation as grounds to murder us. Oops, sorry if that flex gave you whiplash, but it’s important. I needed to get your attention.
There are many reasons Pride exists; it wasn’t like someone sat round a big table in a function suite in 1969 and decided LGBTQ+ people actually mattered. It’s been quite a ride, born of determination, protest, charm, acceptance and understanding.
Pride exists to give voice and visibility to LGBTQ+ people. It serves as a marvellous, colourful celebration of the differences and similarities that bind us together, and an acknowledgement of progress made and still to come. We know those outside the LGBTQ+ community find Pride fascinating, and want to be in on it. And it’s great to see you there! We trust if you’ve come this far, you’ll be cool with us, and not just because you’re into glitter – although, hey, we love a kink, you’re among friends.
It’s worth remembering Pride gives LGBTQ+ people a chance to be centre-stage in a world where, to be honest, we don’t always feel in charge, or like we’re moving forward.
As hard as it can be to get your head round when you’re grappling with the anxiety of an unexpected item in self- checkout’s bagging area, most of society is geared toward straight and/or cisgender people’s happiness and comfort. You’re represented almost everywhere and Pride is our opportunity to claw back a ray or two of that perpetual spotlight. Party with us, and fight for us, and we’ll welcome you with open arms, but remember we run the show. Come correct, and informed – do some light googling, talk to your LGBTQ+ pals, understand what this is about, what it means to us.
Once the balloons deflate and the sexy unicorns have headed home, there are plenty of reasons to be an LGBTQ+ ally all year round. Apart from the obvious reason – that hate and intolerance are horrendously ageing to a degree no amount of retinoids can fix – being an ally is the kind thing to do, no, the right thing to do. It should, in all honesty, be the default, but we are where we are – you’ve seen the newspapers.
The wind is changing – can’t you feel it? By sticking by us, you make it clear you’re not here for prejudice, and you can help change minds. We’ve been telling people outside our community to be nice to us for years, but just like people who holiday in Sitges because they heard Lorraine Kelly does, sometimes it takes an ally to help things along.
Allies are the tailwind as we march, they elevate and amplify us, and they know to let us lead the way. They play nice, stay respectful. We can do it without you, but we’d rather not.
But, remember, honey, don’t hog the spotlight.
‘The Last Romeo’ is the debut novel from Justin Myers, author of sensational blog The Guyliner, this razor-sharp and cringingly candid account of one man’s quest for The One is as sad, fearless and funny as dating itself. The follow-up novel, The Magnificent Sons, is available to pre-order now.
Find out more at theguyliner.com