Trigger Warning: contains offensive statements sometimes used by non-allies.
Showing affection in public: One of the more talked-about problems that queer couples go through even today, in an age of more acceptance, is showing affection in public. Small things like holding hands or kissing in public are still considered unacceptable. An infamous example of this is the beating up of two girls in a train in London just this year– this happening despite London being one of the more progressive cities in the world. Another example, closer to home, is two girls in Chennai being thrown out of a pub simply for dancing together.
Not making ally acquaintances ‘uncomfortable’: One of the more subtler problems– when you come out to an ally as queer, they suddenly assume that you are going to ‘come on to them.’ You have to think twice about everything you say and do, lest they take it the wrong way.
Who/how they can mention their gender/sexuality to someone: For me, personally, it can take even months to decide if I can come out to someone. Even if you think you know someone well, you can never be too sure if they’re an ally and will be supportive of your identity. Which is why one of my favourite things that allies do is going out of the way to mention that they are allies, without being prompted.
Establishing themselves as a couple: While showing affection in public is a problem, on the contrary, there is also the problem of people not realising that you and your partner are together, until you spell it out for them. You can show all the affection you want, but our heteronormative society is conditioned to think that you are only friends, unless you tell them otherwise.
Walking the streets: Walking the streets is not just unsafe for LGBTQA+ couples, but for individuals as well. There are multiple cases of harassment against trans people, and others who identify as gender non-conforming every day. They live in constant fear of being catcalled, raped or even called. In the past few years, worldwide violence against those who don’t conform to a gender has only increased. In the past one year itself, at least 22 trans people have been killed in India due to their gender.
People being casually problematic without even realising it: You’re talking to someone you have known for ages, and then they casually say something like “I don’t think that trans woman should have won the beauty pageant because it’s for real women” or “they can be whatever sexuality they want if they don’t rub it in my face”, and you just have to deal with it because if you say something, you’re ‘too sensitive’ and ‘get offended easily.’
Correcting pronouns without seeming rude: For people who are not cisgender, pronouns are a very important part of their identity. Misgendering, however, is not uncommon, and it is difficult and anxiety-inducing to correct several people repeatedly. Most people find it easier to just let go, especially when it comes to acquaintances.
Not mentioning their gender/sexuality way too much: As untrue and ridiculous it is, it is common for people from the LGBTQA+ community to be told that their entire personality cannot revolve around their sexuality. Because of this, it is way harder for a lot of the community to be authentic to themselves. Holding back the gay jokes is even harder sometimes.
Creepy allies who fetishize them: Someone mentions that they’re an ally, and you’re happy until they say something like “I adore gay people, can you guys kiss?” or “I want to date a trans person once”, and you realize that their claimed allyship is, in fact, invasive and straight-up (pun intended) wrong.
Accidentally being outed: Yes, the “I’m gay” jokes are fun, but at what cost? You have to hold back your personality around people that you’re not out to, and also make sure that others don’t accidentally out you. It’s a constant dread of rethinking every conversation, and being paranoid that you said something you weren’t supposed to.