November 21, 2017
Considering I was still in utero at the turn of the millennium, it feels strange for me to say, “When I was a kid…” about anything. But I could finish that sentence with “We didn’t have YouTube” or “iPhones weren’t a thing” or even “Same-sex couples couldn’t get married.” Now, all of these things feel commonplace, if not outdated. The world has changed so rapidly, sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have these rights: same-sex couples can legally get married, adopt children and have the same future that my cisgender, heterosexual peers never have to think twice about.
That’s the thing about having “straight privilege”; it isn’t so much what you have, but rather, what you don’t have to think twice about. You’ll never have to live a secret double life, stuck halfway between in and out of the closet. You don’t have to worry about erasing the pronouns from your love poems for writing class. You don’t have to fear your family will stop loving you if they see you holding hands with the person you love.
And thankfully I don’t have to worry or fear any of these things either because I have friends and family who accept me as part of the LGBTQ community.
Around Thanksgiving, I remind myself to be thankful I have someone to go home to for the holidays. I’m thankful for the laws that protect me from homophobic harassment at school, a protection not all states have. I’m thankful I get to grow up in a time where I can dream of having my own family one day, even as a gay person. I am incredibly lucky.
During this time of year, I think about those who may have lost family, safety or stability when they came out. If you or anyone you know is at risk because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, there are resources to help, such as The Trevor Project, which has a 24/7 hotline available for LGBTQ youth in crisis. You can also reach out to friends, find an online support group or join the gay-straight alliance at your school (if there is one).
No one deserves to be alone because of their LGBTQ identity. And thankfully, with so many accessible tools connecting us to one another, no one ever really is.