I Love Being a Straight Ally!
I love being a straight ally! I love making people feel comfortable with who they are. I love hanging out with my friends, no matter what their sexual orientation is. When I meet someone new and they don’t have to be shy about who they are, that just feels great. I never really considered myself a straight ally until somebody told me. You see, when I look at people, I look at people for who they are, not what they are. A person’s sexual orientation or gender presentation is not something I judge someone over. I look at people based off their character, how they treat people, and by the things that I may have in common with them.
I wish other young people could be as accepting as I am about sexual orientation/gender identification. For me, I feel that my peers are afraid to use different labels, or just to not categorize a person in a box at all. We use labels to understand and to make sense of the world around us. However, I feel that labels in the sense of LGBT issues are detrimental because they ultimately exclude and hurt others.
As a young person I hate wasting time and energy on things that are not worth it. I’ve unofficially given myself the title as “Efficiency Manager”. I like things to be efficient, and calling someone a name or spitting out a slur is just not efficient. It is not efficient because we have a million things going on in our lives, and going out of the way to be malicious is unnecessary. Name-calling is not a good thing to do because no one deserves to be treated poorly. As people with human rights, we are entitled to feel safe with and about our identities. Name-calling completely goes against our human rights. I’ve dedicated myself to erasing name-calling and bullying by speaking up when someone says something derogatory such as “that’s so gay” or “stop acting like a fag”. Words like that hurt, and just put another roadblock in the way from everyone living in peace and harmony.
Name-calling hurts straight people as well because we feel uncomfortable when a derogative term is used. Name-calling affects other minorities as well because in many instances, name-calling could be seen as a form of a hate crime. For example, the internment of Jews and other populaces during the Holocaust name-calling is considered a hate crime. Name-calling definitely should not be tolerated in the halls of our schools. Again, it is our human right to access a just, fair, and equal education. However, when name-calling is factored into the situation, students do not feel safe, and do not feel that they can learn on the same level as their peers because of the distracting names that they are being called. If someone’s feelings get hurt, everyone’s feelings eventually get hurt. I’ve grown up in a small private all-girls school my entire life. I saw how name-calling hurt my friend’s feelings, and nothing was happening to stop the taunting and teasing. So I decided to step up and take a stand and be honest and real with my friends. I said that I was not going to call others names, and to intervene when I witnessed people being bullied or harassed.
One major action I took was to organize for Ally Week. It was about the second week of school and I made an announcement in the morning meeting in front of my whole high school announcing that Ally Week was coming up the following week. I passed out stickers and buttons to those who signed the pledge cards to be allies. I did not realize how many people wanted to participate in what I was doing! I ran out of stickers and buttons before the end of the week. After Ally Week passed, many students came up to me wanting to learn what LGBT issues were these days. They also wanted to know what they could do to help and change the climate. Ally Week was a great way to get the discussion flowing because it made students question their behavior and confront it in a positive manner. Because of Ally Week, our previously small GSA now had about 15 new members, gay and straight alike! Most importantly though, Ally Week made my school community aware of the large and important presence of the pro-LGBT students on campus!
What I did was very mature and unheard of, but my peers really respected my pro-active decision. Now my school seems so much more connected and inclusive because the students and teachers feel that they can be who they are and be accepted too. I encourage all of you to step outside your comfort zone and stand up when you see something wrong happening. Even though we are youth, we are youth with voices. It only takes one voice to make a change—be that change!
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