I was having a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and she asked the question of whether straight people were "allowed" to wear rainbows during Pride Month.

I have no idea. I do, but it probably depends on where you are. I'm in Greater Boston, where they swap out four of the five American flags on the façade of the public library for rainbow banners in the month of June, and work in Cambridge, whose mayor, last I checked, was a lesbian. Pride stuff out here is more "warm weather festival" than "angry defiance", because it doesn't need to be. I'm sure there do exist bigots in Boston, but it's considered indescribably rude to voice that. They are under considerable pressure to keep it to themselves, which is really all civilized society asks.

The Dancing Queerly month of events that I'm working or otherwise involved in is specifically open to self-identified queer artists and friends, so I can devote the time I might otherwise have spent trying to answer the question to shopping for cocktail dresses and crafting a bunch of rainbow accessories instead. I do have a reputation to uphold.

To be frank, I think the and friends part is important. I don't know if I qualify as "queer" because I'm unsure of the semantics of the categorization. I know what kind of humans I go for, I just don't know how outsiders perceive that. There are others who don't know if they're queer because they're genuinely unsure of where their interest lies. This is not a cornerstone of my identity, but it is for a lot of people, especially young ones who are just discovering boys/girls/whatevers, and suddenly find themselves crushing on someone they did not expect. You don't know them and don't know if their families might react better to a budding artist or activist than they would to an actual, seriously, for-really-real gay kid. The and friends part opens community events like this to people who are seriously re-thinking their life, and gives them a chance to see firsthand that swapping their name tag from "straight" to "queer" will not suddenly turn them into a space alien.

LGBT+ matters are pretty much the only politics I will openly engage in. It's not even a philosophical argument, it's a knee-jerk reaction: Those are my friends, jackass. You leave them alone. My personal taste in partners is significantly outside the mainstream. Probably not so much so that copping to it in public will get my nose busted, but enough that things like advertising aimed at your average straight woman -- or men trying to make themselves attractive to average straight women -- completely miss the mark for me. I spend a lot of time nodding and agreeing that yes, the person you're talking about is considered gorgeous, whilst not personally giving a shit. A significant number of the things I find attractive are things that people who identify as heterosexual men are explicitly discouraged from doing. Whether or not you think I'm queer, pretty much any partner I pick is going to be. I would be a fool of the highest order to treat this community as anything other than my own.


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