How To Be a Good Ally

Allies are great.

They help us fight for equality and often offer love and support as friends, family members, and significant others. Where do you start? Here’s how I think you can be a good ally:

  1. Listen – Listen to those in the LGBTQ+ community and don’t talk over us. Wait for your time to talk and recognize when your opinion isn’t needed. Let people tell you what they need, instead of assuming. Listen to how your friend/partner/family member feels and what they need from you. An open mind and listening ears goes a long way, especially when someone is trying to figure things out or has just come out.
  2. Educate- Educated yourself about the community, all of the community. Learn different sexualities, genders, and romantic identities. Learn about LGBTQ+ issues and stay up to date on news that involves the community. Try to educate others, especially when other people are saying bigoted things or using slurs.
  3.  Love- Everyone just wants to be loved. Respond to the LGBTQ+ people in your life with love even when you don’t understand what they’re going through. There’s no way you’ll be able to understand it all, but listening to them and loving them will make a huge difference.
  4.  Vote- Voting is one of the biggest ways, in my opinion, that you can help our community. Vote against discriminatory laws, and vote for people who are going to bring about positive change. Do not stand idly by while bigoted people try to attack our community, especially right now.
  5. Respect- Respect everyone’s identity. Use the correct pronouns and preferred name for everyone you meet. Respect that someone may not be open to talking about their sexuality or gender, or being queer in general.

 

What did I miss? How can someone be a good ally to you?

 

A is for Ally?

The acronym for the Queer community, is forever changing. Some people like to use LGBT, because that’s what it’s been for a long time, while others use LGBTQ+, since queer encompasses the whole community, and the plus sign makes up for any letters left out. The longest one that I’ve seen (that is widely used) is LGBTQIAP, standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and pan/polysexual.

asexual

That’s a mouthful! I typically use LGBTQ+ since it encompasses everyone without being ridiculously long. One issue I’ve seen queer people argue over is what the “a” stands for. Some argue it should be for ally, others chime in with, “don’t forget about asexuals,” and then there are people who think it should stand for both words.

I don’t consider the “a” to stand for ally at all, because they aren’t queer. Allies are great, and incredibly helpful at helping Queer people get their voices heard, but they already have straight/cis privilege, so why should they be considered LGBT? If allies who are straight and cis are considered LGBT, then you’re saying everyone but homophobes are part of the community, and I don’t think that’s true.

6af.jpg

Being asexual carries a lot of stigm, but since I am not asexual I do not feel comfortable speaking for the community. Asexuals receive hate, and prodding questions, just like everyone else in the queer community, so why shouldn’t they be included? I’m not trying to be the “identity police,” but I think that members of the  queer community  should be just that, queer. I’d like to live in a society where we don’t erase others identities, and instead accept every gender identity and sexuality.

I’m thankful for allies, but I think they have their places as friends, family members, and acquaintances, but don’t need to be considered part of the community. The LGBTQ+ community bans together because we are all “different” from the majority in regards to sexuality and gender. Including people are straight and cis, in my opinion only discredits the whole point of establishing ourselves as a community. Being queer doesn’t make you any better/worse than a straight/cis person, but it does put a target on your back, and being in community with those who have similar experiences is important. If you’re straight and cis, use the space you take up in society to help those who’s voices aren’t as heard.  Let me know your thoughts on the acronym conundrum.

Lot of Love,

Alyssa