These are personal stories from members of our LGBT+ Network to support Virtual Pride.
I believe that all people regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect. Earlier this year I joined CQC’s LGBT+ network as an ally. I am unsure why it has taken me so long to do this as I have always been an ally in my heart since my teens which were a long time ago. I suppose that I now see the importance of being a visible ally and the way that this can make a difference.
As a black woman, being aware that my black LGBT+ friends and colleagues are likely to face racism inside the LGBT+ community, homophobia in the wider society, as well as homophobia from black friends and family members is one very strong reason for me to be visible as an ally.
I am a Freedom to Speak Up Ambassador, so standing up and speaking out is important to me. To be a good ally it is essential that I stand up against homophobia and call it out, especially when those who the comments are about are not present. It is imperative to speak up in response to any anti-LGBT+ comments not just in public spaces but in our homes, when with friends and families. You don’t have to do this in front of everyone, it can be done in private with the individual. Words can hurt and speaking up educates others and lets them know that their words are not acceptable. Speaking up can also take us to along the pathway to acceptance and change.
Being an ally is a long-term commitment and an ongoing effort. I feel it is of the utmost importance to let my LGBT+ colleagues know that they have my support and are not alone.
Generally, I feel that the world would be a much better place if we advocated for each other’s basic human rights and became better allies.