FEATURES: Are you an LGBTQIA+ Ally?
June 5, 2019 Victoria Luz
LGBTQIA+ ally – who? Pride Month is upon us and yes, people are calling themselves an ally. But how can you identify yourself as an ally? Here’s how to know if you’re one!
In a daily basis, members of the LGBTQIA+ find themselves surrounded by a lot of decent people. Both members of the community and straight people alike. To be honest, it’s not a bad thing to be surrounded by straight people every day. Because that’s how it is most days. And it’s normal for them to find people identifying themselves as “straight allies”. Even if they aren’t. Do you get what I mean?
LGBTQIA+ ally – who?
The LGBTQIA+ refers to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms (such as non-binary and pansexual)”. And among the terms associated with it is the word “ally”.
Breaking news everyone, being friends with someone gay doesn’t necessarily make you an ally.
You can be friends with a member of the LGBT community but be ignorant and abhorrent about the problems they face. An ally is someone who is concerned for the well-being of the whole community and the social injustice they face every day. Be it either in work, family or the whole society itself. Some can be very unwelcoming to queer people, intentionally or not.
Not sure if you’re an ally or just a friend to a queer person? Check out below if you have the traits of a trusty ally.
Supports LGBT rights
For starters, you can’t go on calling yourself an ally if you don’t support LGBT rights. You don’t go on telling your gay friend that you accept them as a gay person but don’t support same-sex marriage. That’s hypocrisy right there, mate. But it’s not cute, Carol.
As an ally, you help in defending your LGBT peeps in breaking down the walls of prejudice and discrimination that exists in the community. Even in your own little ways, you could show support for them. Like defending your queer friend from people insulting them for being queer. Small things matters.
Doesn’t dismisses a person’s queerness
Like I’ve mentioned before, you just don’t dismiss a person’s queerness that easy. You just can’t straight up say “I don’t think of you as a bisexual. I think of you as a human person like me.” and tell the world you’re an ally. Acknowledgment of their sexuality is a small victory for them. Small it may seem but it can change the community, one step at the time.
Being who they are, as a member of the LGBT community is a significant part of their whole being. And dismissing it as a footnote on a book page seems rude and unappreciative of straight people.
Compassionate and reassuring
And of course, you are aware of the space you take up. Your compassion and reassurance of accepting them should go beyond words. Sure, it’s cool being able to connect with other queer people. But of course, you should be aware of the words you say to them. Most of them felt like outcasts, closeted or discriminated by the people closest to them. And keep commenting how cute they are or how cool it’s to be queer, then better pack your bags home, sister.
Queer people are interesting and different from straight. That’s true. But they aren’t a novelty or a sightseeing place to ogle at. Being different from the rest gets tiring in the long run. Because like I’ve said, the LGBT community aims to belong. To be a norm as well in the community.
Being an ally isn’t a policy. But if you do find it in your heart wanting to be an ally, then be sure to do it right. You don’t have to be a therapist or a counselor to them. You just need to be a support system or a pillar towards the bigger picture their community aims. Because at the end of the day, we only want the world to be a better place for everyone. And that counts the LGBT community. Love is love. And love wins in the end. Yay!