Tag Archives: human rights

Why I Am A Straight Ally

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With marriage equality being halted in Utah and with Chris Kluwe speaking up, I’m reminded of how frustratingly hard it can be to be LGBTQIA. I’m sharing this again as a reminder to myself and others…

We cannot become complacent.

WHY I AM A STRAIGHT ALLY

Occasionally people ask me, “Why are you so outspoken about gay rights?” My response is usually, “Well, replace the word “gay” with “human.

BAM!

That could SHOULD be the end of the discussion right there. What human wouldn’t empathize with human rights?

I’ve also been asked if I’m a lesbian or bisexual simply because I’m an ally. I’m flattered and say so; however, I feel compelled to follow up with a “no” because it’s important to show people what “straight allies” are – especially those of us who are outspoken about it.

To be snarky or walk off with a “gotcha” attitude, as good as it might feel, wouldn’t be fair. As straight allies, we need to recognize opportunities for education.

I have the good fortune of being loud, proud, and (mostly) unafraid. When I’m passionate about something, my friends and family, Facebook and Twitter communities will hear about it. I am the extrovert you want on your side when you need support. I march with my friends, I share controversial and inspiring news and get into heated discussions, but I also know when to use a kind, gentle approach with those who are fearful of the LGBTQIA community. We could all learn to temper ourselves in order to better serve those who have been misled and have questions. I see straight allies as not only support for the LGBTQIA community, but also as a bridge to understanding for people who are still apprehensive.

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A friend I met through PFLAG said this about his family being slow to accept his new out lifestyle, “It took me 53 years to accept myself and come out!” He doesn’t pressure others to move faster than they are comfortable. I admire that. Change can cause discomfort, which in turn may lead to fear which triggers anger. Anger often causes us to do or say things we really don’t mean. All feelings are okay, but it’s how we process feelings that matters.  It takes practice. And it can be frustrating. Enter the straight ally. Allies are typically wayyy over the uncomfortable stage, or were never there in the first place! Allies recognize the chances to engage in constructive dialogue with those who still struggle with their feelings about the LGBTQIA community. Recognizing this makes an ally a powerful agent for change.

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But we want equality and we want it now!  Again, frustration. Yet, we continue. The opposition often needs to see the struggle of the LGBTQIA community from a different perspective. Straight allies can be a bridge for helping people that are uncomfortable move to a better, more accepting place. Stay open for questions and opportunities. Never make someone feel ashamed who is misinformed just as we would never want our  friends in the LGBTQIA community to feel ashamed. This is about all of us.

Be a role model for other allies. Provide resources and information to allies who wish to become stronger. We straight allies have it pretty easy in the US. Can you imagine the courage it takes to be one in Russia right now? As an informed and active ally, I recognize that advantage and will not waste it. Our global community needs us as well. It’s a good time to be on the right side of history.

There are resources to help you in all aspects of support. If you haven’t gone to a PFLAG meeting, GO! If you’ve never marched, MARCH! Just choose one of these things and I promise you’ll find many ways in which you can make a difference.

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I go to support the LGBTQIA community but I always leave with an overflowing amount of love.

It’s the best part about being a straight ally. If you have friends or family members who are out — or even if they aren’t out yet — remind them that you love them…that you stand with them. You never know when those powerful words may support them in a time of loneliness or vulnerability.

To quote a friend, “It’s ALWAYS been about love.

I am a straight ally. It means I educate myself. It means whether you are gay, straight, misinformed,  or just confused, I am your  friend. I have more than enough love and I’m proud to share it with a community that is struggling. I march, chant and yell. I sit quietly beside you when you cry. I cry when you cry. I will have tissues and I will listen. I rejoice in your victories. I hold your hand. I hug your neck. And when we part, you will know, unequivocally, I have your back.

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The Equality House in Topeka, KS. You can support them HERE!

I WANT to be that person.

Join me. It is breathtakingly rewarding.

 

“GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK OR WHITE-MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT!”

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I am NOT a great morning person. I will soak up every last second of shut eye possible. But this morning my eyes opened, like, POW! I remembered right away what was happening today. I moisturized, threw on my red shirt, my supportive bra and got in touch with my buddy, Rusty.

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While I was getting ready and figuring out how I was going to teach my preschoolers while being so juiced, Rusty was passing by Union Station and Columbus Circle,

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making his way to the rally just in time to see the sun come up over the Supreme Court.

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You see, today was history. Freaking history! The Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage for the first time. And Rusty was there! Lucky for us he documented his day and shared it with me via text. Even more luck, I JUST started my blog and can remember this day forever, have a bit of history passed directly to me and share, share, share!

Rusty:

I was a bundle of excitement from the moment I woke this morning. I had never been to a demonstration in front of the High Court before so I kinda didn’t know what to expect. A big showing? Small crowd? Yelling and shouting? Civil disobedience?

Michelle:

What did you feel when you got there and realized the magnitude of support?

Rusty:

Well, as soon as I exited Union Station, there were two kinda lonely looking marriage equality supporters in Columbus Circle. I smiled and gave them the thumbs up and asked if there were a lot gathering. They smiled and nodded. I high tailed it to the front steps of the High Court, maybe a ten to fifteen minute walk from Union Station. My energy only elevated.

When I saw the crowds I smiled and lost my breath a little.

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I couldn’t see any of the opposition! All I saw were people IN SUPPORT of marriage equality.

Michelle:

*sniff*

Rusty:

Groups were chanting “EQUALITY NOW!” and “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, LOVE IS WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR!” and “GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK OR WHITE-MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT!”

Opposition were organized elsewhere and making a marching entrance around ten o’clock. They marched up First Street NE with a  police escort. That’s when it got loud! The excitement intensified. Good vs Evil collided. The chants got louder as they approached. There was also a pastor who began preaching and condemning the pro-marriage demonstrators but our voices drowned him out! That moment was spectacular. I was yelling at the top of my lungs “EQUALITY NOW! EQUALITY NOW!” Getting in his face, pumping my fist. I was fired up, tranny!

But I saw no instances where it got really ugly or nasty.

You can see his short video of rally footage here.

Rusty:

There were also two proud gay republicans showing their support with us. They had a sign with the GOP elephant logo in rainbow.

Michelle:

(Remembering to breathe)

What would the end of DOMA mean to you?

You can see the defeat in this guy's face already.

You can see the defeat in this guy’s face already.

Rusty:

An impossible future of a loving committed relationship with another man suddenly becoming possible:’)

Legally.

Recognized by the federal government.

The ability to say with conviction, “I am an equal American with the same right and privileges that heterosexual Americans enjoy.

(Here I believe we both paused to choke back a few tears)

Michelle:

What about adoption?

Rusty:

Haven’t thought much about it. My brother has two kids, a boy and a girl. I’m my nephew’s godfather. Bobby and I are quite happy with what we have now.

Who knows what will be.

Not arrested. Yay! But a hoarse voice. Small price to pay for equality, right?

Not arrested. Yay! But a hoarse voice. Small price to pay for equality, right?

And that’s Rusty! Can you see the energy, happiness and thrill he’s exuding? Today I got to live vicariously through this sweetheart. Bless him!

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Today my Facebook looked beautiful with the red equality signs everywhere. I wore my red, though I’m not sure how many here in south KC noticed. But that’s ok. I couldn’t be in front of the High Court, but I was carrying the spirit of this historical day with me. I teared up a couple times and my chest swelled with pride with every sign of equality I saw.

Finally, I will end on this. My cousin Mike is very dear to me, has an amazing heart and has, as you’ll see, an amazing insight and way with words.

“Hi, Love. I don’t believe in labels. Mainly because a label is giving someone else empowerment. But the one label I do believe in is love. No matter who you fall in love with, you should be able to express that love the same way as the rights of the majority. We’ll look back at these times and be either ashamed at the ignorance, or proud that we allowed acceptance in love.”

I know it will be the latter.

The red is all about love.</p><br />
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