Friday, June 24, 2011

Why you should be an ally

We believe in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Ally support of injustices ensures everyone’s ability to have justice. If you were being discriminated against, wouldn’t you want others to stand up for you? Our LGBTs need your help now more than ever.

Silent supporters don’t help lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs). In fact, silence hurts them. We were once a silent supporter. We have evolved over the years starting with little things. For example, now when we hear something that doesn't ring true, we simply said, "What did you mean by that?" Have your strategy ready when you hear inappropriate remarks or statements made as facts that are stereotypical or false. Speak up and of course, do it nicely. If you let those remarks stand, others will assume you agree or that the information is true. Don’t be proud of yourself for supporting LGBTs until you do something, anything, to show that support.

Here is another compelling reason we discovered for allies to speak up on behalf of our LGBTs. We were asked to present to a group of educators in southeastern Minnesota. After we completed our discussion one of the participants said she had heard many presentations on this topic but ours was the best so far. Of course we asked what distinguished our talk and her response was, “You are not a threat to us. You are not an angry gay or lesbian yelling at us because of all the inequalities. You did not preach.” While we understand there is anger(and we are as well), it gave us a clue how important it is to have allies speaking up about today's issues. Sometimes it is received much better by an “outsider” rather than an “insider.” Whether it is marriage equality, employment discrimination or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the ally voice remains the important voice. Harvey Milk energized the gay community to tell their family and friends the truth about themselves. Now more than ever we need to go to the next step and hear the voice of allies to support, correct misinformation, share stories, and educate. Allies will be the people who make the difference in our future to correct misinformation, stereotypes, and injustices.

Please give sound to your voice today. For more information on how to be an ally, go to Straight for Equality Pride month is a good time to start and please, let us know what you are doing.

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