Is it more important that gays and allies stand together unified without feeling compelled to say "I'm straight, but...", or is it a stronger message to say "You don’t have to be gay to support gay rights"? -- Australia Scott.
I think either way is effective. During the African American civil rights movements, I think it created powerful messages to see people of different races standing together to support each other. I was not around obviously, but I can imagine it must have been very energizing and amazing to see such powerful figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedy’s standing together, it must have been inspiring to people of all races. I think that in order to make people understand, you need people of different backgrounds to come together for one cause that both sides believe will enhance the value of the community.
I think things have changed a little in the case of the LGBT and Straight Allies. I believe that some people feel the need to let others know that they are straight for several reasons. For some, it is simply because it makes them feel comfortable. You have to understand, that a lot of these allies are new. They are in the movement because they have close friends or family in the LGBT and they want to fight for those they love. Since it is their first time in anything of this sort, most feel awkward, so identifying themselves might help get them past this stage and allow them to communicate openly. Most are not very knowledgeable about the community and they just want to help. So the first few meetings are an eye opening experience for them, and it takes a while to learn the different language and allow themselves to open up and take it all in. The important thing is that they are actually there to help out in any way possible.
There are also those who believe that allies shouldn’t identify themselves either. Some believe it is a powerful message to just show up with an anonymous persona and help out with a cause. It is like a random act of kindness, and they want to help, but they also want to remain unknown.In my opinion it does not really matter which approach people take, because in the end they are all there to do the same thing, help out in any way. Even a little help from someone goes a long way, no matter if or how they identify themselves