Monday, February 20, 2012

The Importance of Allies

Good article from the Huffington Post on the importance of straight allies:

Many of my friends have asked me this question (God bless them for caring so much!) - "What can we do as non-gay supporters of equality and civil rights to help the cause?"

My answer basically has two parts.  The first is what the writer of the article is talking about, and it boils down to "make all the homophobes uncomfortable" :)  Don't let them get away with making snide jokes, saying "that's so gay", and the like.  Force the issue sometimes.  Most people probably aren't really intending to be completely hateful with those things, but as long as it's allowed to continue it will.  In this case, YOU (the straight person) has a lot more ability to do this than I do - if someone knows they are around a gay person they will generally censor themselves until that person is gone.

Part 2 - realize that you have 1000 times more power than I do.  You, as a non-gay "community" are the 90%, change doesn't happen if only the 10% are voting, talking, and challenging people.  But the largest facet of this power - many of the arguments that the opposition of equality and LGBT civil rights use are that it's a choice, that it's against whatever religious or belief system they hold, etc. and me trying to convince them that they're wrong will be thrown back in my face - "well you're ONE of them so you're biased".  Which isn't true, but they can't throw that back in the face of a straight ally.

Don't misunderstand me, I, as an individual, have a lot of power and potential to change the world around me.  But my potential power is different - I've seen people in my own life question themselves and change their minds because they know and respect me, and realize that they have to rethink their views on gay people because they do not fit with the example of the friend and person that is in front of them.  That kind of change is personal and long-lasting.

But YOU, the straight ally, are critical to things changing on the larger scale.  So, if you want to make a difference, be vocal - make people a little uncomfortable - challenge them - write your elected officials - talk to your pastors - vote.  And know that I am grateful for all of you.

1 comment:

SKM said...

Love you friend. And committed to fighting the good fight. :)