For many queer women, our straight female friends are a source of support and solidarity.
Because even though there are aspects of our experiences that they can’t relate to, they know what it’s like to have one’s sexuality policed and stigmatised, to face male violence, and to have one’s own boundaries and preferences constantly disregarded or treated as irrelevant.
My straight female friends have been there for me through all of it: the struggle to find a label that works, the loneliness when it felt impossible to find someone to date, the awkwardness of OKCupid dates. I love them, and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them.
But sometimes, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and solidarity.
Most queer women have stories of things straight women have said or done that stung unexpectedly, that casually wore down our sense of self.
Some of those things we would’ve expected from straight men – but coming from women, they were powerfully painful.
At those times, we realise there are aspects of our experience that straight women cannot understand, no matter how much else we might have in common.
In her piece about straight women, queer women, and microaggressions, Ashley Truong writes,
"It’s important to talk about the ways in which straight women can make queer women uncomfortable. Nobody should feel uncomfortable, and more importantly, when we make queer women feel uncomfortable, we exclude them. We exclude them not only from feminist movements, but also from friendships.”
Truong shows us that inclusion isn’t just about who can get married and who sees themselves represented in the media, although those things are incredibly important.