How queer folk can best support allies

Illustration by Zachary Phillips
Illustration by Zachary Phillips

I’ve been fighting for LGBT+ rights my entire adult life. It isn’t a choice for me, it is just the right thing to do. However, sometimes it feels like allies are treated more like enemies when they speak out of turn.

Most of the animosity I’ve seen comes from the idea of privilege and the assumption that allies don’t recognize their own. I know I am straight, and that people don’t stop my husband and I on the street to either harass us or celebrate us. I know that I don’t have to deal with misgendering and incorrect pronouns. I have taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate this.

Assuming that allies choose to live in blissful ignorance shortchanges their care and conviction.

Although we don’t deal with nearly the same amount of struggle, allies have to make sacrifices too. My family doesn’t support me being an ally. It has hurt our relationship and strained it over the years. There are also other things I personally struggle with that threaten my schooling and job opportunities.

Again, I am not comparing. I am just pointing out that everyone has struggles, be they obvious or unseen.

Another source of conflict is when allies use the wrong terminology. Although I can’t begin to understand how frustrating this must be for LGBT+ people, antagonizing allies for their ignorance never solves anything.

Allies just want to help, and sure they make mistakes, but many of them haven’t been in the fight as long as the LGBT+ community and they’ve never faced the front lines.

Whether someone is LGBT+ or an ally, we’re all fighting for the same cause. We have to look out for each other, protect each other and reach our ultimate goal of equality together.

We are all in the same trenches; let’s act like it.

Alyssa Dunning can be reached at [email protected] or @alyssadunning3 on Twitter.