This is an anonymous submission for the DiS Pride carnival that I got by email. I thought it was great, so I got permission to post it here in its entirety. Yay for everyone that helps advance queer advocacy!
I am an Ally. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when or where I reached full-on Ally Status (I'm card carrying, in case you are wondering) but as I sit here today, I'm proud to be out. Maybe it was my hairdresser in high school. Maybe it was my youth director at Church (when I still was a Christian). Maybe it was my office mate in grad school. Maybe it was lab mate who never actually came out because he was uncomfortable with others knowing such an intimate part of his life (in fact the only conversation we ever had about it went like this: me: You could have told me. him: I didn't want to. And then we went back to drinking beer and it NEVER came up again. Nor did this conversation come up with anyone else-well, until now). Maybe it's the undergrad, whose hand I held, as he cried when his mother did not take the news that he was gay very well. Maybe it was my husband's mentor in college (aka the strongest woman that I have ever met). Maybe it was my great aunt who never felt like she could come out because Southern ladies don't do that. Maybe it was my cousin who came out in her 50's (her dad was a Southern Baptist preacher!). Most likely it's a collection of all these experiences.
So what does it mean to be an Ally? In every day life? It means on a committee when someone says, 'but our state doesn't recognize gay marriage', you say, 'it doesn't matter, they are committed to each other and it's irrelevant to this decision'. It means that when I teach bacterially transmitted infections that I point out which diseases are found in LGBT populations, so our future MDs know what to look for and which questions to ask their patients. It means voting against those who want to discriminate against LGBT folks. It means acting respectfully. It means being that ear or hand holder for that student that wants to honest with everyone about who he or she is.
Most importantly, it means not treating anyone as if they are different or special. Unless you are an actual sex worker, who you have sex with and/or who you fall in love with is wildly irrelevant to the rest of your life. Moreover, it is what it is. I don't hetero walk down the hallway or hetero start my car or hetero parent or hetero write a grant or hetero listen to music (I might hetero dress, but that's a topic for another day)...I can't imagine that a gay version of myself would suddenly have a different walk....just, perhaps, a different gender of partner to walk through life with.