Flag to fly for an ally?
June 14, 2016 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Half the houses on my street have rainbow flags waving. I'd like to add my support, but as a straight, cis male I don't know the etiquette.

Is it appropriate for me to fly a rainbow flag? My worry is that it would look like I'm claiming a struggle I haven't had to face. The alternative I've considered is an ally flag, but there I worry that there's an unnecessary qualification implied. A superfluous "I'm straight, but..."

Yes I'm bean-plating a flag, but I don't know the current etiquette in this area.

posted by chndrcks to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Hi, I'm bi. Your show of support is very welcome. So many members of my community are scared and hurt right now. It has been very helpful to have straight allies show love.
posted by Ruki at 5:45 PM on June 14, 2016 [14 favorites]

Rainbow flag is totally fine; it's often used to designate a "safe space" or just as a general show of support—and those are very much appreciated these days. When we complain about straight people coöpting the situation, our experiences, etc., what we're upset about is the perception that we're being talked over. The flag in and of itself just amplifies our voices, and is a nice gesture, I think.
posted by wreckingball at 5:49 PM on June 14, 2016 [20 favorites]

It is appropriate for you to fly a rainbow flag.

I used to work in Chelsea, NYC's gayborhood, and a lot of local businesses, churches, etc fly the flag to mark that they are LGBT-friendly and welcoming of LGBT people. Presumably the owners, staff, etc. of these businesses are not universally gay. It's a way to mark support or a safe space, as wreckingball says.

Frankly as a queer teen growing up in the south, anytime I saw the rainbow I perked up. It did not matter to me whether it corresponded to an actual LGBT person.
posted by Sara C. at 5:53 PM on June 14, 2016 [14 favorites]

Couple of gay dudes here. Fly that rainbow!
posted by brbmaroon at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2016 [8 favorites]

I'm here, I'm queer, and I say please do it!
posted by c'mon sea legs at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2016 [9 favorites]

Fly it! And thank you!
posted by mochapickle at 6:11 PM on June 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

Dude, fly that rainbow flag. When I see that a neighbor has one up, my admiration for them increases tenfold (to ape a line from Buddy Cole). Fly any flag freely, and you have a lot of options to choose from!

Good on you. Thank you.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:14 PM on June 14, 2016 [8 favorites]

Do it :) trust me, it means a lot no matter who it comes from.
posted by christiehawk at 6:15 PM on June 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

I've never thought that flying the rainbow meant "I'm gay." My understanding has always been that it is flown as a way to show that you stand in solidarity with gay people, whether you are gay or not. It's an inclusive symbol—you don't have to be a member of any particular group to display it, other than the group of people who think homosexuality should be fully accepted by society.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:15 PM on June 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

Another example - when many of my straight friends changed their Facebook profile photos to have the rainbow overlay, it made me feel heaps of support
posted by christiehawk at 6:19 PM on June 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

This bisexual woman thinks it's 100% appropriate.
posted by epj at 6:37 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

thanks for asking, chndrcks --- I've been wondering this myself! (and good gravy, late afternoon dreaming hotel: that's a lot of flags to chose from!)
posted by easily confused at 6:48 PM on June 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

i almost asked this exact question last night! thank you for articulating it, with all its potential fraughtness and implications, so perfectly.
if i may piggyback, are there good/preferred places one would one go about getting a straight ally flag, online or otherwise?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2016

Please and thank you and bless you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:40 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sure, fly the rainbow, that's a good gesture.

But more importantly, the next time some straight dude spouts some homophobic bullshit in front of you, confront him and tell him to stop saying hateful, bigoted things about people who never meant him any harm. That's a lot more useful than a flag in your yard.
posted by zdravo at 7:48 PM on June 14, 2016 [17 favorites]

Yeah. You'd put a rainbow flag on your business if it was gay-friendly even if you weren't gay. Same deal.

Obviously yes, do all the other things and vote and all that, but telling any hostile neighbors "fuck you, I'm not like you" is also a big big deal.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:52 PM on June 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I always considered it a show of support. I say, let it fly!
posted by Toddles at 8:18 PM on June 14, 2016

Echoing. It's a kind, welcoming and supportive gesture. It makes me feel safer when I see rainbow flags.
posted by lieber hair at 9:53 PM on June 14, 2016

Big ol' dyke here who also strongly supports you flying the rainbow flag! I'm actually too scared to fly one even in liberal Seattle because hate crimes have been skyrocketing lately and no one else on my block has one. I really appreciate allies who make me less afraid by showing their support for the community.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:09 PM on June 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'd like to echo Cold Lurkey's question. Any preferred retailers? It would be nice if the purchase went to a group/company.
posted by chndrcks at 5:32 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

My hometown has a historic flag making company. The're not owned by gay people, but they sell pride flags (at least the universal rainbow version). I get one every couple years from them when I'm passing back through town. If your town has a shop like that, get one there and support local business, gay or straight or whomever.

I'm a bit surprised that there aren't charities selling fundraiser flags. I just checked the online shops of the ones whose work I admire most, and none of them seem to be selling. I suspect that's because flags are still mostly bulk import items. In this position, I'd just buy one online from wherever (here's a possibly NSFW place to order from, although I confess I know nothing about the proprietors).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:01 AM on June 15, 2016

For a vendor, might I suggest Syracuse Cultural Workers? Flag offered is made in the U.S.
posted by spamloaf at 9:57 AM on June 15, 2016

Fly it. And when friends/family inevitably ask you "it might give people the impression that you're gay?" tell them that you don't particularly care because a) there's nothing wrong with being gay and b) anyone who needs to know your sexuality is aware that you're straight and c) if it does cause any legit confusion for anyone, you are perfectly capable of just using your words and clarifying that you're straight.

It is deeply engrained in our society for straight men to be afraid of being perceived as gay (and to react to such an "accusation" with defensiveness and anger.) One of the best things you can do as a straight male ally IMO is to actively reject that.
posted by desuetude at 7:16 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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