Lately, I have been more mindful of the qualities an ally should possess. An ally is an individual that wants to fight for the equality of a marginalized group that they are not a part of. I am a straight cisgender woman. (FYI, cisgender means my gender experience matches my assigned gender at birth. Also take a look at our definitions page for more feminist/ gender definitions.) I experience privilege as a straight cis woman and its easy to not realize oppression when you are benefitting from privilege. It can be difficult to recognize the experience and difficulties of marginalized groups specifically LGBTQ+ community because I am not experiencing it. Also, I find difficultly discovering my place within their journey for equality. But, I learned that it is not hard to shut up and listen to the experience of the LGBTQ+ community and gain perspective.
In my previous post, Get You Feminist Intake, I discussed some of my favorite feminist content creator on the internet. One of my faves, Chescaleigh, created the perfect video that I often refer to about being an ally. Her video can relate to being an ally for any marginalized group and I truly admire the approach she takes. She encourages allies to educate themselves in order to contribute effectively. She makes it clear that as an ally, it is important to not speak for the marginalized groups but speak in support. Let the LGBTQ+ community speak of their experiences and an ally can speak in favor of their voices being heard.
After evaluating what I can contribute to the journey of equality of LGBTQ+ community, I found that my marginalization as a woman of color can be applied to my work as an ally. My efforts to protect women of color includes the LGBT+ community specifically trans women of color as well. If I excluded the experience of trans women, I would not be fulfilling my duty as a woman of color. The efforts of trans women of color have broken boundaries for cisgender women of color. Without them, where would I be? By actively recognizing that trans women of color face oppression like me and unlike me, I can work to protect and support them. I can recognize that the loss of a trans woman of color is a loss for me too.
Also there are bad habits that I can break, I need make a better effort to use gender neutral pronouns because all individuals do not associate themselves with the society’s forced gender binary. The efforts I can make are the least that I can do to show my loved ones and various individuals that their lives matter.
As an ally, I found a comfortable place within the LGBTQ+ community. But I also realize that as any individual, I am not perfect and will often come across difficulty due to my lack of experience. In my opinion, to be a good ally requires self-education, acknowledgment of the issues marginalized groups face and openness to understand. So as I stand on the battlefield for equality, I admire the journey and enjoy seeing intersections standing next to me.