A Queer Student Opposed to Ally Week
(originally published in Meredith College’s The Herald. This is the unedited version.)
Near the end of Spring Break, I received an email about Meredith having an Ally week. As a queer person actively involved in the fight against queer oppression, Ally week is a kick in the shins.
Queer people do not like ally week. Queer people do not want ally week. Ally week is a chance for straight people to feel good about themselves in our names; for straight people to pat other straight people on the backs and say “good job” while queers are yet again left on the sidelines.
Imagine if there were such a thing as Not-Murderer week, in which all the people who somehow managed to not commit murder in their lifetimes were awarded. “Good job, people!” The award givers would say. “Congratulations on not brutally murdering someone!”
The concept is the same. Ally week rewards straight and cisgender people for meeting basic standards of human decency by not being bigoted towards queer people.
It’s a clever ruse meant to imply that straight people are thinking about queer people, without actually dedicating a week to queer people. In fact, Ally week is yet another event dedicated to – wait for it – the privileged straight and cisgender people of the school!
Where is our week for queer students?
When do we start talking about all the queer kids who have been forced to live on the streets because their bigoted parents turned them out? When do we talk about the queer people put in jail for defending themselves from queerphobic attackers? When do we talk about the fact that Meredith is a “women’s college” that trans*women are forbidden from attending, while trans* men walk freely about the campus? How about the suicides, the job layoffs, the lack of positive representation in media, the rampant ignorance that so often goes unchallenged here on campus and elsewhere?
I am queer, and I am maddeningly opposed to the very idea of Ally week. These “allies” could never in their entire lives do more for queer people than queer people do for themselves. How about we dedicate a week to the queers?