What TU Dublin Confessions Taught Me About Allies

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“There’s a straight person in the LGBTQ Soc and he just ruins the vibe and I feel so uncomfortable around him.”

– Anonymous Poster on TU Confessions (27th January 2020)

Confession pages, where Simps and Incels go to die.

If you haven’t entirely dissociated throughout this latest lockdown, you’ll likely be aware of a certain new Instagram page that’s taken over TU Dublin; TU Dublin Confessions. While perhaps not as marketable as Trinder, it’s admittedly far more virulent.

Already garnering over a thousand followers in a matter of weeks, it’s an anonymously run page that allows users to confess their innermost thoughts and opinions. What dark secrets has it unearthed, might you ask? Not much. The sheer volume of posts along the lines of ‘that girl with the hair in the campus is nice’ really doesn’t do much to illustrate our university’s proud intellect.

However, some rather interesting themes have emerged. Amidst dozens of posts by ‘de ladz’ and BO-ridden Incels, we’ve seen a startling amount of attention being drawn towards TU Dublin’s very own LGBTQ society. However, what started out as innocent appreciation posts for the iconic society has quickly mutated into an intolerable flame war. Over what, you may ask? Allies.

Now for anyone not well-versed in LGBTQ labels (we love to categorise), an ‘ally’ is firstly a heterosexual (straight) and cisgender (gender identity matches your sex assigned at birth) person. In other words, the majority of the human population. Does that mean everyone is an Ally? Fuck no.

This is because an ally is someone who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBTQ+ social movements and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (to name a few). In other words, an ally isn’t just anyone who isn’t LGBTQ. They’re people who support us, who work to understand the community, who are aware of their inherent privilege.

For those of you who are rolling their eyes and insisting that as a straight white male, you “have no privilege” (fuck off), remember that you will never be discriminated against on the basis of your sexuality. You will never have to worry about sounding ‘too gay’ for a job interview. You will never have to worry about having groups of men screaming ‘faggot’ as you stand behind a till in work.

Being aware of your inherent privilege does not mean feeling guilty, either. It simply means acknowledging the advantage you have. Why is this important? Because it makes you realise just how important LGBTQ societies are.

LGBTQ societies are one of the few places where many LGBTQ people can feel comfortable. They don’t have to worry about being called names, being misunderstood, or being misgendered. They can talk about their sexuality and identity without a group of people becoming immediately awkward. OH and before you claim that ‘gay people are obsessed with sexuality’, I’ve seen straight men’s group chats. We’re all trash, deal with it.

You may be wondering why I’m harping on about allies and the LGBTQ society so much. Well, as of a few days ago, a tense argument of confessions was ignited on – you guessed it – TU Dublin confessions. There was a single comment that started it all:

“There’s a straight person in the LGBTQ Soc and he just ruins the vibe and I feel so uncomfortable around him.”

Now, while there could have been a straight individual in the society who made things uncomfortable (the same way many LGBTQ individuals equally have in the past), it was the subsequent confessions posted over the following few days that really unsettled people.

“The person who put in about ally’s in the LGBTQ Soc, you are so right.”

“Can everyone stop shitting on the allies in the LGBTQ Soc?”

“I kinda agree with the person who said straight people in the LGBTQ Soc making it a bit weird”.

“I’m gay and the people stating it’s weird to have straight people in the LGBTQ Soc, this is discrimination.”

“Personally, I wouldn’t have let “allies” join in the first place.”

Frankly, I was horrified. For many reasons, if I’m being perfectly honest. Firstly due to the damage that this was doing to the society itself. Instead of seeing us as inclusive and safe, people started imagining the society as being saturated with either 1) attention-whore straight people 2) heterophobes. But what infuriated me even more was the complete stereotyping and discrimination that was going on amongst LGBTQ people.

Now let’s make one thing beautifully clear. The LGBTQ society has, continues to, and will always encourage allies to join.

There’s a reason why I explained what allies were above. Because we will always accept people who actively understand, support and encourage the LGBTQ community. We categorically do not accept straight people who think that because they’re “okay with gay people”, that they can now use our society as a vector for attention. We had individuals who failed to realise their privilege; they didn’t understand or respect the reality that this society is a safe-space for LGBTQ students. They couldn’t comprehend that constantly harping on about their heterosexuality could make members uncomfortable.

However.

And this is a major fuckin’ however.

We don’t accept allyphobia. This is something that emerged across TU Dublin confessions and something that disappointed me, to be honest.

Attributing the actions of a singular straight person (note: straight, not ally) to an entire group of people. Not only is this blatant stereotyping (shocker), it leads to discrimination. Worse still, even LGBTQ members couldn’t seem to distinguish between what an ‘ally’ was, versus just a straight, cisgender person. It infuriated me to think that after all of the abuse, stereotyping, and discrimination, we still weren’t cognisant of the hypocrisy of our actions. One gay person does not represent LGBTQ. The same way one straight person does not represent the ally community.

So to those of you who have literally made our ally members (some of whom are the most amazing people to ever grace TU Dublin’s halls) too afraid to speak in the society out of fear, I’m disappointed. You talk about being uncomfortable, and yet you willingly cause the exact same feeling in others.

Equally, to those of you who are straight and think the LGBTQ society is a vector by which you can satisfy your rampant need for validation, you disappoint me too.

I’ll finish by making something abundantly clear. The LGBTQ committee will always accept allies, with the knowledge of what an ally actually is. And it will not allow any discrimination against them. Particularly because some ally’s may be LGBTQ individuals who have yet to come out – and we don’t believe in supporting a society that discriminates against closeted people. Equally, we will always strive to make the society as comfortable as possible for as many members as possible. We will never, to the best of our ability, allow faux allies to pollute our group chats or events.

To summarise, TU Dublin Confessions taught me a lot. It made me really evaluate what an ally is, versus just your average heterosexual cisgender. It also made me realise that just because you’re LGBTQ, doesn’t mean you’re not prone to thinking errors and blatant stereotyping. No side is ever perfect, and that’s the reality.

Now, will you all please, please, stop posting negative hate about the society and allies on TU Dublin confessions so that the committee can stop suffering from the consequences. Your actions do nothing but limit the reach of LGBTQ, as well as damage the lives of closeted LGBTQ students.

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