Straight ally

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A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and/or cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. A straight ally believes that LGBT people face discrimination and thus are socially and economically disadvantaged. They aim to use their position as heterosexual and/or cisgender individuals in a society focused on heteronormativity to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Most LGBT organizations have straight members involved; others actively encourage straight participation. A gay–straight alliance is a student-run club that brings together LGBT and straight students to create a platform for activism to fight homophobia and transphobia.[1] There are also some groups that unite the LGBT community to work together with straight allies. Founded in 1973, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the original straight ally organization, started by Jeanne Manford, mother of the Straight Ally movement. Based in the United States, PFLAG unites parents, families, friends, and straight allies with the LGBT community to move equality forward for LGBT people. In 2007, the organization launched a new project, Straight for Equality[2] to help more straight allies become engaged in the LGBT movement in the workplace, healthcare, and now in faith communities. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is another organization specifically formed to group allies of this cause.

List of straight allies[edit]

Prominent examples of strong allies include Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin, singers Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand, Lady Gaga, Tori Amos, and Liza Minnelli, the late Kurt Cobain and his widow Courtney Love, actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Cybill Shepherd, Judith Light, Paul Newman, Pauley Perrette, Stuart Townsend and Josh Hutcherson, director Jonathan Miller,[3] comedians Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler and Ricky Gervais, comedy writer Seth MacFarlane,[4] musicians and spoken word artists Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra and Neil Peart, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, philosopher Martha Nussbaum, writer Anne Rice,[5] writer Susanna Roxman, evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins,[6] NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, former English rugby player Ben Cohen, footballer Philipp Lahm, philosopher Daniel Dennett,[7] United States Democratic senator Russ Feingold, United States Democratic representative Dennis Kucinich, policy analyst and Florida gubernatorial candidate Michael E. Arth,[8] president of the Michigan GSA Robert Lewan, former Australian Greens senator Kerry Nettle,[9] civil rights leaders such as Coretta Scott King[10] and Julian Bond, linguist Noam Chomsky,[11] historian Richard Carrier,[12] and mothers Betty DeGeneres and Judy Shepard and Matt Stoycos.

Some children of LGBT couples are straight allies, notably Iowan Zach Wahls, the son of two lesbians, though he has expressed a different view of his relationship to the LGBT community:[13]

To be clear, I don't consider myself an ally. I might be [a] straight cisgender man, but in my mind, I am a member of the LGBT community. I know the last thing that anyone wants is to add another letter to the acronym, but we need to make sure as a movement we're making a place for what we call "queer-spawn" to function and to be part of the community. Because even though I'm not gay, I do know what its like to be hated for who I am. And I do know what its like to be in the closet, and like every other member of the LGBT community, I did not have a choice in this. I was born into this movement.

Straight allies may receive criticism for a variety of reasons. For example, some believe that straight allies are unable to step outside their own heteronormative world to advocate.[14] Straight allies are also criticized for using LGBTQ advocacy as a means to gain popularity and status.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What We Do: Gay-Straight Alliance". Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  2. ^ "Straight for Equality website". Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  3. ^ Horsfall, Allan; Gosling, Ray. "A History of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality". Gay Monitor. Retrieved 2006-12-02. Other vice-presidents included:... Dr Jonathan Miller... 
  4. ^ "BGF: Seth MacFarlane". The Advocate. March 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-30. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog: "Revert" Anne Rice: Pro "gay marriage," pro women's ordination, and pro contraceptive. What gives?". 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  6. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). "A deeply religious non-believer". The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-68000-4. Retrieved 2006-12-02. [F]ree speech is deemed not to include ‘hate speech’. But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate.... You can’t get away with saying, ‘If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.’ But you can get away with saying, ‘It violates my freedom of religion.’ What, when you think about it, is the difference? 
  7. ^ Dennett, Daniel (2003-07-12). "The Bright Stuff". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-02. I am neither gay nor African-American, but nobody can use a slur against blacks or homosexuals in my hearing and get away with it. 
  8. ^ Arth, Michael E., (2010). Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests. Golden Apples Media, 2010. ISBN 978-0-912467-12-2. 
  9. ^ "Greens Oppose Howard Stance On Gay Marriages" (Press release). 2003-08-05. Retrieved 2006-12-02. There are thousands of same sex couples currently raising children in Australia and providing a secure and loving environment for their children.... To support the continued discrimination against gay couples who want to marry is at best mean spirited, and at worst homophobic hysteria. 
  10. ^ Jackson, Derrick Z. (2006-02-01). "The King who led on world peace". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-12-06. I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' 
  11. ^ Shawn, Wallace (Autumn 2004). "Interview with Noam Chomsky" (PDF). Final Edition Magazine (Seven Stories Press). Retrieved 2006-12-02. So, just in our lifetime, itʼs different.... The same with gay rights. There have been big changes in consciousness, and theyʼre important, and they make it a better world. 
  12. ^ Carrier, Richard (editor). "Internet Infidels June 1999 Feedback". Internet Infidels. Archived from the original on 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2006-12-02. [M]orality has to do with how you actually treat people, and whether you respect their rights, not with who you date.... Social stigmatization of homosexuality... causes misery and death.... 
  13. ^ Washington Blade: Phil Reese, "'That kid from YouTube'," May 23, 2012, accessed June 2, 2012
  14. ^ DeTurk, Sara (2011). "Allies in Action: The Communicative Experiences of People Who Challenge Social Injustice on Behalf of Others.". Communication Quarterly 59 (5): 569–590. doi:10.1080/01463373.2011.614209. 
  15. ^ Becker, Ron (2006). "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class: The Affordable, Multicultural Politics of the Gay Nineties". Television News Media 7: 184–215. doi:10.1177/1527476403255830. 

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