A Guide For Non-Queer People of Color (QPoc) on How to Support QPoC 101:
1. Ask for pronouns: It can seem awkward at first, but asking someone for their pronouns up front can help avoid a lot more awkwardness and the potential of harming someone by misgendering them.
- Listen with sympathy: If a queer person of color tells you that something hurt them in some way, even if it didn’t necessarily hurt you, try to understand that everyone’s experiences are vastly different. Things that you may have never thought of can be triggering for us, and it only adds to the pain to be told that we’re overreacting.
Don’t talk over us: There are two potential ways that non-QPoC can talk over QPoC. One is verbally talking over us in conversation (which happens way more than you’d think), and another is silencing and invalidating our experiences as queer people of color.
Even if your intentions are not to harm someone, overshadowing someone’s experiences by talking about your own is a form of talking over them. Let us express ourselves while giving us the space we need to share our voices.
Talking over us and our experiences will only quiet us further and perpetuate cycles of trauma and pain.
- Familiarize yourself with common terms: No one can be expected to understand every single form of identity there is, but the internet is also always right there. Run a quick Google search, or respectfully ask someone in the community.
Learn the common cultural terms and ideas that were plagiarized from QPoC: Voguing, throwing shade, “and I, OOP…” and so many more things are wrongly attributed to Madonna, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and VSCO girls, respectfully. Understand where the language you use comes from, and examine the relationships you have with those communities. If you “borrow” from our culture, make sure that you also respect us.
Understand how intersectionality and systems of oppression affect us daily and what non-POC can do to stop them: Knowing about the different systems of oppression we live in currently is important enough as it is, but knowing specifically how these systems affect everybody is even better. Being multiple types of “other” is already hard enough as it is.
Queer people of color are affected by different forms of oppression daily and those experiences in turn affect our voices and how we view ourselves. We’ve seen it so many times throughout history where queer people of color are put on the back burner or erased while non-QPoC are brought into the spotlight in lieu of them.
As a non-QPoC, use your privilege to help stand up for and support QPoC who are silenced by others.
Understand that only through recognizing the experiences and differences that QPoC have, can we fully end the toxic environments in which QPoC are forced into.
Stop needing us to write articles like this: You know how to be a decent human being, now do it. Stop using slurs. I can’t make this sound any better — just stop.