Student body must learn to be LGBTQ+ allies
By Katherine Poston, Reporter & Designer
With the current politicians and policies present in the American government, it is clear that LGBTQ+ rights are being reduced, questioned, and ignored.
As a member of an age group that will shape the future of our country, I believe it is our responsibility to become LGBTQ+ allies as government actions continue to limit the rights of this community.
The department of Health and Human Services wrote a memo in early October detailing the potential redefinition of the term gender. It proposed that “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate … shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex ”
According to a 2016 study from the Williams Institute, approximately 0.6% of adults in America are transgender, meaning about 1.4 million people who identify as transgender will be affected by this law, if it passes the federal legislature.
In addition Trump Administration sent a memo in September declaring family visas will no longer be issued to same-sex partnerships. The official memo states, “Currently accredited same-sex domestic partners of United Nations officials who wish to maintain their G-4 visa must be ready to submit proof of marriage by December 31, 2018. After December 31, 2018, they will be expected to leave the United States.”
As rights like these continue to be denied it is important to learn the difference between someone who simply accepts LGBTQ+ members — supporters of the movement — and allies. A supporter agrees with the ideals and goals of the campaign, but often take a more passive role.
To be an ally one must support people when they speak of their experiences or difficulties that have come with their orientation.
Allies can assist in some situations, such as protests, by displaying the movement in a positive light. For example, non-members should dress professionally to create a strong image of supporters, behave accordingly by using logical arguments, and act as if their behavior was being evaluated. The movement has an image, and when it is backed by socially approved members of society, it is more compelling and difficult to dispute than when compared to an unorganized group of individuals.
The core of the movement should be built by those who have experienced what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, not simply a supporter who feels their input is crucial to represent others. It is thus important for allies to understand that while they do play a key role, they must also be willing to step back and let others defend themselves. A true ally stands by to support, rather than constantly stepping in themselves.
Similarly, it is extremely important to confront a friend or group of strangers that are making offensive remarks with regards to homophobia and transphobia. While this action may be awkward, the comments and jokes that have become so prevalent in our society do nothing but further the prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community.
Allies benefit from the privilege of not being in a potentially dangerous situation because they are not a part of the LGBTQ+ community. To better our current social climate, allies must take a step forward, using our privilege to make a positive impact.