Are you a straight person who changed your Facebook profile picture to the rainbow flag in the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling? Well you’re being insensitive to gay people and you should stop.
So argues a Washington Post op-ed written by New York City-based reporter Peter Moskowitz. Moskowitz, who is himself gay, argues that straight people are “co-opting gay pride” with their show of support.
He argues that many of the people who changed their profile pic had no idea what it was like to be gay. “That’s why it wasn’t comforting to see hundreds of my Facebook friends’ profile pictures draped in rainbows. It didn’t feel like they were understanding my struggle; it felt like they were cheapening it, celebrating a victory they had no part in winning.”
“They weren’t necessarily homophobic, but they weren’t great allies either. They didn’t march during pride celebrations; they didn’t participate in the “day of silence”; they didn’t even bother to inquire about my life,” he said. “If they were true allies to me or the LGBT community, where were they before Friday?”
“Facebook did not invent co-opting, but it allowed it to happen en masse this week,” Moskowitz complains. “It gave an unprecedented number of people the power to claim understanding of a struggle they do not actually know. When millions of people cloak themselves in a symbol without understanding what it means, they dilute that symbol’s power.”
Oh sure, he argued, straight allies were “necessary for progress. But holding up a victory flag without acquiring the battle scars is an empty gesture at best.”
[Image via Shutterstock.com]
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