Happy Pride! This month I will not only be revitalizing V’s Take, but also enlisting the help of other LGBTQ+ writers on staff to address some important issues within and surrounding queer culture.
To be an ally has become yet another trendy accessory that people of privilege love to flex, almost as if they are saying, “Look at me! I’m not a racist! I don’t hate gay people!” Expecting a pat on the back for showing the absolute bare minimum in terms of empathy is embarrassing.
Allies wield an incredible amount of power in situations of discrimination, whether regarding race, gender or sexuality. Saying that you are an ally is much easier than being a good ally, so what exactly does acting as a good ally entail?
1. Understand that you will never understand.
It is up to you to use the tools around you to research and learn more about the history of the struggle in which you are participating. In the case that someone who experiences discrimination opens up to you about their experiences, it is your job to listen, regardless of your implicit biases. While it is inherently impossible for you to understand that struggle, a good ally honors the voices of an underinvested group and acts accordingly.
2. Speak up against discrimination, even when you feel scared.
It is incredibly uncomfortable to speak up for what is right when you are surrounded by those who think otherwise. However, your voice, whether virtually or physically present, can amplify the voices of those without privilege who experience this discomfort throughout their lives. A good ally does not remain silent in the event of further marginalization of individuals based on race, gender, or sexuality.
3. You do not get a gold medal in the Oppression Olympics.
Being privileged doesn’t mean you never experienced a hard time or your life has been strictly butterflies and fruit cakes. The ability to be yourself without much thought provides the opportunity to be thoughtful about moments where you may unintentionally speak over the group you intend to support. A good ally understands that it is not a competition to determine who is the worst off, but instead offers unlimited support and love.