Dear Well-Intentioned Allies at Eastern,
Thank you for accepting me somewhere I feel out of place. You come to me absolutely ecstatic to support the queer relationship I’m in. While I appreciate your enthusiasm, it can come across as alienating and objectifying. By excessively celebrating my queerness, you effectively treat me as a two-dimensional character instead of relating to me as the whole person I am.
Many of these encounters involve you communicating with me exclusively because I am in a same-sex relationship. Other parts of me seem unimportant compared to the rarity of my open sexuality on campus. Instead of approaching me as a valuable and individual person, I am related to as an idea; all conversation pointing to a fraction of my identity. My identity becomes Queer Person and leaves me feeling like an object to be celebrated, rather than a complex, multi-dimensional individual.
When you talk to me, much of our conversation is centered around how “cute,” “brave,” and “important” my existence as a queer person is. This constant barrage of shallow celebration leaves me feeling uncomfortable, different, and alienated rather than supported and accepted in my community.
Your support is appreciated on a campus where affirmation is hard to come by. However, I urge you to consider the way you relate to the queer people in your life. Are you supporting them as an individual person, or are you approaching them as no more than their sexual orientation?
I challenge you to reflect on your actions and relationships with the queer people in your life. Has your affection and support for diverse sexuality become more important than the person themself? Is your support being conveyed appropriately, or are you accidentally marginalizing the very people you are trying to encourage? I urge you to approach your relationships with queer people empathetically, instead of as an object to celebrate. While I am grateful for your support on this non-affirming campus, I hope these sentiments help you to relate more completely to the queer people in your life.
A Fellow Human