How to be an effective Ally
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Oh hello darling, and welcome back to the final post of Pride season on benpechey.com. Over the past weeks, I have brought you narratives that centre and focus on the LGBTQIA+ community. Today to round out Pride season’s content I want to offer allies a way to be truly effective in their efforts.
In terms of the LGBTQIA community, an Ally is someone outside the community that supports the needs and rights of marginalised individuals. This could be a cisgender non-heterosexual person, supporting the trans community. Or this could be a Cishet person challenging bi-erasure. Allies act as bridges for the social gap that exists in society, leveraging the privilege they hold, and using that to make our lives easier and safer.
Allies have a privilege, that wields power. It is easier to be heterosexual, and it is easier & safer to be cisgender. This is not something that erases your individual struggle, but in the context of the LGBTQIA community, you have it and we don’t. Now you know where you may have power, I want to help you understand how you can use it!
So let’s explore how you can be an ally:
- Give up your comfort
You have comfort and rights as a given, yet not all members of the LGBTQIA+ community have access to this level of comfort. I cannot walk down the street without causing a commotion, being stared at, having abuse shouted at me, or worse!
It may make you feel uncomfortable to talk about putting pronouns in email signatures, but have you ever thought how uncomfortable we feel when we have to address it? Through discomfort, CHANGE occurs!
- Speak Up
Our voices are not being heard, yet in so many circumstances an allies’ voice would be heard and would be listened to. Discussing lesbian erasure in a space that you have comfort in, is a great way of improving the dialogue around this issue.
- Be Quiet
Also knowing when not to talk for us is key. There is a lot of noise in the world and online, and sometimes you should share the voices of the people you are trying to protect. Share content, profiles and buy queer people’s work when it is available.
- Hold Space
Holding space is a term that many may not understand, but is a key one when it comes to safety. Holding space means that you give airtime to LGBTQIA in spaces you have comfort and respect - think about handing the mic over to someone less privileged than you in the spaces you operate and occupy.
- Protect Us
It is terrifying being LGBTQIA in public, and the amount of times terrible things have happened to me, and no one around me has helped, is ALL the times that terrible things have happened to me. You will always come out better in this situation, so step in and help when you see situations like this!
It can feel very strange to be told you need to change, but as humans, we have a right to equal access and opportunities, as with so many marginalised commutes this access is not equal. Allies are the thing that will make the biggest differences in the years moving forwards. So if you think you can be an ally, please go out and do it!
Thank you so much for joining me all Pride season. As always, I love you lots like jelly tots, until next time, uh buh bye.
Shot by Rachel Pechey