One of the most memorable quotes from Queer as Folk comes from a supporting character. When introduced to a lesbian couple, Daphne says: “I’m not a lesbian but I’m a big fan.” Unfortunately you do not see much of Daphne throughout the series as it is focused on the LGBT characters and a few of their enemies.
Do we, the LGBT people, pay enough attention to the straight fans of our community?
The world of today often allows us to choose who we want to be with and what we want to read and hear. For sure, you have to earn your living and do your job even if it is a pain in the neck at times and you also usually do not ignore your family. That said, the internet and social media as well as bars, cafes and stores in many countries allow you to spend your free time in a “gay ghetto” if you want to. However, I believe that you lose a lot if you spend time only with people, who are just like you.
There is no doubt that we need Ellen DeGeneres, Dustin Lance Black, Tom Daley, Davey Wavey and Brent Everett. We need ILGA, Stonewall and Transgender Europe. We need lawyers and human rights activists, who strive for equal marriage and anti-discrimination laws. But it is as important to have straight friends, who will not wave the rainbow flag but still stand by our community and make us feel comfortable. And these friends can be found anywhere, including the F1 community.
I am happy to have met a lot of heterosexual F1 fans from the Netherlands, the UK, India and other parts of the world, who are supportive of LGBT rights and oppose any policies that discriminate people on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. I am proud to call these people my friends even if I have never met them in person. I was positively surprised by the amount of support that I got when I posted my thoughts on these issues on F1 Fanatic. Of course, there have been other reactions as well, but hey, even LGBT people have different views on their own rights.
I guess there are people, who perfectly agree with me on LGBT rights but are irritated by some of my views on F1. But that is how it should be. I would much rather spend my time arguing why I think that Rosberg is better than Webber than replying to “I have nothing against gays BUT…” for a thousand times.
F1 journalists and bloggers have not been talking much about LGBT-related issues but there are a few encouraging exceptions. Will Buxton had a nice article about diversity last year, RichardsF1 published an in-depth analysis of the career of the only known gay F1 driver, a Jalopnik contributor did not mince words as he condemned Ecclestone’s homophobia and F1 Fanatic have often included LGBT-related articles or comments in their round-ups. The latter website is very special to me. The owner of F1 Fanatic is probably the liberals’ answer to Bernie Ecclestone, that is, he is a guy, who can get things done but without being a dick.
If you wanted to donate money to help LGBT people, you would think of human rights organisations at first. But I believe that a donation to someone, who is no LGBT rights activist but openly supports us, is not less worthy. Our big fans can reach people, who do not follow the likes of Stop Homophobia on Twitter. They use their money and efforts to make this world a better place. They help create an environment where everyone feels safe, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
And it is what we all want, isn’t it?