What does it mean to be white/heterosexual/male/cisgender/upper class (etc) in this situation?
Would I be listened to if I didn’t hold this privilege?
Is this an oppurtunity for everyone, or is this an oppurtunity ONLY given to me for any reason?
Notice: How people of different abilities, people of color, LGBT people, non-cisgender people, middle-class and working class people, people of size, etc, are promoted, seen, treated, and talked about.
Am I stepping into a situation where someone is not being listened to because of their gender, identity, race, sexuality, etc. Am I making sure everyone is getting the same chance to express their opinions?
Am I interupting an offensive joke made towards a target group?
These are just a few things you can ask yourself to make sure you are actively being an ally to people who are different than you, and not abusing your power as a privilege group member.
To get more information on this topic, here are some great resources:
First of all, I am going to define heterosexism. Heterosexism is a system of advantage which favors heterosexuals. Institutionalized homophobia, the assumption that being heterosexual is inherently better, more moral, or more natural than being gay, bi, lesbian, pansexual, etc. Like racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, heterosexism awards power to members of the dominant group (straight people/heterosexuals) and denies privileges to members of the subordinate group. (LGBTQQA community).
At the camp I went to, CLI, we discussed how heterosexism plays out in different enviorments in our lives. This is what we came up with:
How Heterosexism Plays Out At School
Health classes directing sex education towards a heterosexual audience
PDA from heterosexual couples and little to none from queer couples
The basic assumption that everyone is straight
Asking “Do you have a girlfriend?” (to a guy) or “Do you have a boyfriend?” (to a girl), rather than, “Are you with anyone?” or “Do you have a partner?”.
How Heterosexism Plays Out in the Community
Assumptions from people in general that everyone is straight
Queer couples being treated differently, shunned, or looked down upon