Allies are incredibly important to have. When we feel like we don’t have a space or a voice, allies can make all the difference. Kindness and truly seeing someone goes a long way and its effect is larger than people can imagine. It’s easy to feel like no one gets you or cares about you. But even just one ally can show that people are invested in you and your happiness.
I love it when people ask me “what can I do to help?” Allies multiply in number. Just by simply existing and standing up for minority communities, others are encouraged to open their minds and be accepting as well.
We all need people on whom we can depend and who we know accept us for who we are.
Allies have quite literally saved my life.
But there are times when it’s too much. With all of the racial tension that is still happening, I don’t pretend to speak for my black friends. I sit with them. I listen to them. I cry with them. I show up for them. But I in no way speak for them. It’s their story. They are the ones being mercilessly persecuted. So I hold their hands and walk with them in the fight. But I let them lead the way.
I can speak as part of the LGBTQ+ community and say that same sit-down ally-ship that I participate in with the battle of racism needs to be put in action here as well. Yes, I need allies to see me and validate me. But I don’t need allies to speak for me.
When I was younger and didn’t either have the vocabulary or the courage to stand up and speak for myself, I turned to allies. They were typically straight, because at the time I didn’t know many LGBTQ+ individuals.
But now, I can and will speak up for myself. My voice and experiences don’t need to be filtered through straight individuals. I’m tired of people being interviewed and speaking for the LGBTQ+ community simply because they have an LGBTQ+ son, daughter, cousin, in-law, etc. Ask the son. Ask the daughter. Ask the cousin, the in-law, or whoever else it may be. Because, as much as you see me and love me, my experience is not your experience. And no one can tell my story like I can.