There should not be a world where is it necessary for people to be on the side of, and/or defending, minorities, marginalized, or disenfranchised people… however, until the world learns to be kind, fair, unbiased, and non-judgmental, allies are necessary to ensure the safety, security, and rights of people deemed by some as “other”.
As an ally, I do not feel like I am doing anything other than being a decent human being. I am not doing anything amazing, brave, or courageous. I am treating humans with that same respect, dignity, and care that all humans are deserving of. As a heterosexual cisgender woman, I do not have to deal with the side-eyes, jeers, or questions when I have a tender moment in public with my fiancé. I do not have the concerns that my family, friends, or religious organization will shun, shame, or disown me for being open about how I identify or who I am attracted to. With that, I understand that what I am experiencing is called privilege.
Humans naturally see the world from their own worldview, which is based on their experiences and interactions. It is our duty as responsible people to explore beyond our personal lens, and acknowledge the struggles of others, while filling the gaps of hardship by being open to learning, advocating, and being a voice in areas where others may not have a platform or invitation.
To be an ally is not to be perfect. You may struggle with the various terminology of persons on the LGBTQ2 spectrum. You may not understand the workings of "how" someone can identify as a gender other than what is depicted on their birth certificate, or “how” someone can be attracted to someone who is the same gender… however, to be an ally is to actively increase your understanding, to show compassion, to see people for who they as individuals, and to try your best to use titles that people wish to be addressed by. You must also be open to give a simple, earnest apology if you misgender or accidentally offend.
To be an ally is not only to be kind to those on the LGBTQ2 spectrum but also to defend them when you are not in their presence. You must also be self-aware and check yourself for biases, judgment, and misuse of language that the community may find offensive, regardless of your intent.
It is not a task to be an ally. It is a gift. You get to find bliss beyond your ignorance. You can be a friend or confidante to someone who is spectacular and has been treated by others as if they are not. You get the opportunity to know that you are on the right side of humanity and the gift of opening your mind and seeing beyond yourself. There is so much to gain by developing friendships and alliances with the amazing, creative, incredible people that the LGBTQ2 community has to offer.
So when asked why I am an ally… the better question is… Why would I not be?
Peace, Love, Positivity, and Progress
-Kristen Lee MA, LPC