Team, sit down.

You may have noticed that I sent all the queer folk out of the room to go play with the box of puppies I brought in today. That’s because we need to have a chat about being an ally to the community. No, don’t get up—I’m not trying to make any of you into the bad guy. Here, do you want some cookies? I baked cookies. Anyway, I’ve noticed some disquieting things from y’all recently, and I’m not going to name any names, but I thought we’d have a little chat over it.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing little slips from you guys here and there. You’ve been dropping f-bombs (you know what word I’m talking about, Johnson, don’t give me that look) all over the place and calling things “gay” again. No, I don’t care if you’re using the words ironically; you still look like some prat regurgitating hate speech all over the innocent bystanders. And if you can’t think of more creative insults, I don’t think I want to hang around with you anyway.

Yes, I know you “didn’t mean it that way.” And I—don’t you even start with that “but my gay friend said it was okay” hoohah—I know you’re not trying to hurt anyone, but the people who hear you spouting this malarkey don’t know that you don’t mean it like that, and then they’ve got to go deal with whatever emotions you just brought up. That’s a party foul, guys. You don’t have to be a homophobe to say hurtful things.

Also, the pronouns. I cannot stress it enough: stop assigning people pronouns. They’ve got a set they like, I promise, and I don’t give a toot if they make you uncomfortable. Asking is easier than stumbling over yourself and apologizing ten times in a row when they correct you later on. Here, we’re going to do a trust exercise. Stand up, you guys! Okay, now choose a partner, look them in the eye, and say, “What’s your preferred pronoun?” Hey, good job over there, Julie! Nice hustle.

Also, about our experiences. Now guys, I know you might not be able to understand what we go through, but for the love of cranberry sauce, you’ve got to stop acting like we’re social pariahs. Now, it’s no picnic being a big queer and hearing all this cockamamie talk they’re saying about us being pedophiles or threats to the American family, but gosh darn it, we’ve got family and friends who love us, and I’ll bet a whole lot of us dance better than you. I’m talking about you, Jones. I saw you at the Christmas party last year with Doris. It was a travesty.

Okay, guys. Good chat. Remember, we wouldn’t be having this meeting if we didn’t love you all a whole bunch and want you on our side. And remember, we’ve got that team picnic next month, and we’re playing volleyball, so you don’t want to miss that. I’m bringing my denim cutoffs. Good meeting.