Behind every gay man, there is a great woman — or, more accurately, great women. Joe Biden said of Will and Grace that the show “did more to educate the American public than almost anybody’s ever done so far.” And he was absolutely right. The sitcom was indeed groundbreaking, because it normalized gay people to American audiences.
Yet, perhaps just as important was how it portrayed the relationships between gay men and their straight female friends. Did Will and Grace slip into low-hanging fruit territory? Of course it did. But beyond tropes and cliches, at its core, it was a decisive and reverent portrayal of the bonds between gay men and straight women. For Will, Grace offered a brand of supportive love that is so familiar to gay men everywhere. The most unconditional, non-judgmental kind of love. A love rooted in compassion and commiseration.
As Pride Month begins, I am reminded of all of the ways straight female allies have supported me throughout my life, and how straight women have fought shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community from the very beginning. They have no skin in the game. No horse in the race. They stood with us out of pure conviction.
So as we celebrate Pride and the legacies of the activists that have stood up for LGBTQ rights, we must remember the role that was played by our straight female allies. As we watch state after state pass legislation that blocks access to reproductive healthcare, we have a moral obligation to sound the alarm, to galvanize, and to fight. We must stand with them as they have always stood with us.
While gay men will never need an abortion, women have everything to lose if Roe is overturned. Their fight is beyond the right to choose — it is a fight for dignity and equality. And that is precisely why I am committed to protecting access to safe and legal abortions. Advocating for women’s reproductive healthcare is a moral imperative for anyone who has ever experienced inequality. The lesson my community should take away from the advocacy of straight women is that we are all in this together. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
To the women in my life, the women of my state and of my country: I stand with you. You are not in this alone. You have always been there for us, and we are here for you now.
Note: Op-Eds are contributions from guest writers and do not reflect GayRVA editorial policy.
Photo courtesy Zachary For Virginia