I've identified as an ally for years, but I've never put a definition to it. Googling gave me a few options, and I chose this as my start from Merrium-Webster, "one that is associated with another as a helper : a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle." There are a lot of struggles in this world. I don't have a stance on all of them, but I do have a stance on some. Being an ally isn't without risks. I've had people make assumptions about me, I've been dismissed and mocked, but I feel that standing up is worth the risks.
I began to identify as an ally as I helped to create a safe zone program at a university I worked at. At the time ally was considered part of the LGBTQ alphabet by some. That felt off to me. Being a supportive person doesn't feel like it deserves inclusion in a label. Recently I've stood up and spoken twice against a group of people wanting to remove books on LGBTQ topics from my local library. I had a voice that mattered in the argument and I used it. I could have planned my words better, but I used my words and feel good about that. I stand in support of LGBTQ people.
When Black Lives Matter rallies ramped up after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor I wanted to scream. I wanted to stand up and fight but I could so rarely find the right words. My attempts to explain why All Lives Matter was offensive and kneeling during the national anthem was an act of respect fell flat. I couldn't argue the points with the eloquence they deserved. I attended my city's rally wearing a shirt that read "I'm here to listen" because I felt it wasn't my place to say anything. I stand in support of Black Lives Matter.
I am pro-choice. As a woman in Texas I feel that women's rights are being violated by recent events. I have never been good at explaining my views when confronted by pro-lifers. I think abortion is horrible, tragic, devastating, and a necessary right. I have never been faced with the need to make that choice for myself and cannot imagine how hard it must be, but I think it needs to remain a choice. I can't argue it well or without emotion. I am pro-choice.
I am an ally for my causes and to the people I feel aligned with. I'm going to say the wrong thing. I'm going to upset the people I mean to support. I'm going to argue my point badly. I'm going to fail to make others feel my view is valid. I'm going to learn from every failing. I'm going to get better with every attempt. I'm going to keep getting it wrong, but I'm going to get it less wrong each time. I am going to keep being an imperfect ally. I am an ally.
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