No, I Don’t Hate Straight People

A few weeks back, my friend and fellow writer Anna wrote about the problem of saying, “I hate men.” There’s a lot to unpack in that and quite a bit of it stems from social issues. But it also got me thinking about a similar but different comment that I hear from my own community. As a member of the LGBT+ community, I often hear the phrase “I hate straight people.” A lot of the time, this doesn’t actually mean that the person who said it really hates all straight people. Whether or not it’s meant in jest, as a community, we need to stop this rhetoric.

Now, as a gay woman I understand where this stems from. Many of us suffer under local, state and national policies which make our lives as LGBT+ individuals harder. And those policies are often created by straight white men. That link will always be there, especially as we are so seldom governed by an elected LGBT+ individual. But just because we are frustrated with these politicians doesn’t mean that it is the fault of all straight people.

The same way that women are faced with oppression from the patriarchy, our community is faced with backlash and hatred by some straight identifying individuals. I know the fear and anger that comes from being harassed by an angry straight white man in the street. But that fear that he instills doesn’t need to be met with hatred, even if it’s joking hatred. 

Whether or not we like it, sometimes our joke of “I hate straight people” isn’t received as one. Instead, it just fuels the hate flung toward us. As a community, we cannot meet intolerance with intolerance. Instead, we need to rise above and keep in mind those straight individuals in our lives who love and uplift us. They are the reason that we cannot harbor hatred in our hearts. 

Our problematic use of this phrase might help us relieve some pent up frustration with our society and the policies it currently operates under, but it doesn’t make our situation better. In fact, it might be making it harder on ourselves. Instead of blaming all straight people, we can blame specific politicians. We can write to our elected officials. We can vent to friends. Whether or not you take my advice, please keep it in mind the next time you want to say, “I hate straight people.”