Why I am an ally
I spent most of my professional life as a psychiatric nurse. Depression can be the direct result of families having LGBT issues. Anything a person perceives as setting them apart or making them "not normal" can send a person into a spiral from which they cannot recover.
I have recently received a letter from my 14-year-old granddaughter, written with her parents' permission. In it she states that she believes that she is bisexual. She asked my advice on how to proceed...to find out more, whether or not to share with friends etc. At this point I know very little about her situation...and as a matter of fact very little about the issues faced by bisexuals. As her grandmother I will do everything in my power to become educated about this and to walk with her as an ally.
I believe that LGBT issues are a matter of civil rights.
Sometimes it takes just one voice to interrupt the pattern of injustice.
It is the right thing to do. At the age of 72 I am relying more and more on what feels just and right. For example, it feels good to be with people in PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), hear their experiences and challenges, and to reflect on what I have done or said in my life to either provide support or to make gay people hesitant to talk to me.
My childhood was spent in a home where we got along with neighbors. Mine was a diverse neighborhood; my parents honored other people regardless of circumstances. Many were poor, most were of other faiths, but we were neighbors. Looking back, I credit that accepting atmosphere with helping me learn about tolerance.
I want LGBT people to know that I am an ally... makes me feel more whole to be recognized as a friend. I make no claim to offer a strong vocal debate.....but just a feeling of assurance that acceptance is right.
Looking back, LGBT issues were not on my mind much at all. It's interesting now to reflect on people I know as friends and as co-workers....I felt good about my association with them. Now when they have had the courage to confirm their sexuality, it surprises me that I hadn't been aware of their "difference," their individuality, and what was probably their fear and struggle. I may have thought "no one I know is gay." But of course they were. I've thought about this a lot more after being exposed to some awareness of what LGBT people have to deal with.