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Why We Recognize Allies
Allies—they are a vital and cherished part of the LGBTQ community. Ally Week is a chance to give back a portion of love we receive from them on a daily basis. However, some believe celebrating allies is a waste of time; that being kind doesn’t make them special or deserving of recognition. This myopic idea is the one of the many reasons Ally Week is so important.
Simply being an announced ally is a step of courage. In some communities, showing support LGBTQ people can result in hateful backlash. I know that to some, the idea of such an intolerant place may seem farfetched idea or a thing of the past, but there exist some environments, where even the slightest of outspoken support calls into question ones own identity and can ultimately put a target on someone’s back. This is still a reality today. However, through continuing to foster and celebrate the relationships between LGBTQ people and their straight peers,
No one is born an ally. By being an ally, one makes the conscious decision to be a light in the life of someone else and to freely offer up love and support. However this light also reaches those who seek to put it out. Even through animosity, allies stand strong, and instead of retaliating harshly they just shine their light of love brighter. Being an ally requires a beautiful combination of strength, love, and compassion. It is a difficult responsibility to carry as they battle criticisms from naysayers, but allies do it with a flourish of grace and composure. As you go through this week make sure to take a moment to think about the allies in your life and take the time to thank them for their support and courage.
Ally Week is a time for open dialogue about the value of allies to LGBTQ people and for the empowerment and encouragement of others to take steps to be #BetterAllies, even when it is not easy to do. Dismissing the significance of contributions of allies only serves to further the divide between LGBTQ people and those with potential to be outspoken advocates. If we continue to foster relationships and celebrate togetherness perhaps we will see a day when allyship is an engrained idea for all people. The GLSEN Middle Tennessee Jump-Start Student Leadership Team proudly embraces all our allies and encourages each person to stand, speak, and act in their own way to support LGBTQ youth. Need a good place to start? Download the Ally Week selfie sign and participate in our #NashvilleAllies photo campaign by sharing your selfie as a visible ally and using the hashtags #NashvilleAllies and #AllyWeek.
This blog was written by Craig Collins. Craig is a senior at Cookeville High School, soon to be graduating with honors and distinction. He is the President of Traffic Education Saves Teens (TEST) Club and Tri. M (music honors society). In addition, he is the Vice President of Habitat for Humanity. Craig was casted as Riff in his school’s musical West Side Story. He decided to engage in GLSEN’s Jump-Start Program to educate himself and those around him. He is the new media coordinator for the team and can’t wait to expand the social platform of GLSEN while educating.