How to Be a Good Ally this Pride
Ally (n): a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose
Attend any Pride parade, festival, or, shit, attend any gay bar on a Friday night and you would be hard pressed to avoid happening upon a straight person. Now before you get your panties in a twist, I’m not saying that the phenomenon of straight people in queer spaces is necessarily a bad thing. I, myself, have a group of straight friends that I have stumbled out of the Abbey with once or thrice, and I would even go as far as to call these people my allies. But in today’s world, what does that even mean? What does it mean to be an ally?
In my experience, the best way to be an ally boils down to one very easy step: realize that what you are fighting for is not about you. I recently read an article written by Mia McKenzie entitled No More “Allies,” and I think she really hits it home when she says that she’s tired of “the constant cookie-seeking of people who just can’t do the right thing unless they are sure they’re gonna get some kind of credit for it.”
And that’s just it. Allyship is not supposed to be about you or your feelings. Allyship does not make you Mother-fucking-Theresa. Allyship is not a performance and most of all, allyship is not an identity.
Allyship is getting down in the trenches and helping the people who experience homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, etc.
Allyship is educating yourself on what these people go through every day, and figuring out what you can do to help.
Allyship is sitting down, shutting up, and listening. Whether that be listening to the person’s story, or listening and being open to feedback about how you may be in the wrong.
Allyship is recognizing your privilege and using that privilege to educate others and take down the oppressor from the inside.
In our current political climate, it is now more important than ever to expand the idea of being an ally further than just a rainbow filter on your Facebook photo. Stand up, speak out, but know when it is time to use your voice and when it is not.
Being a good ally starts with educating yourself.
To learn more about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement in the US check out the links below, and consider donating to important organizations that fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.