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on being an ally

Today (perhaps not coincidentally National Coming Out Day) I finally managed to attend an Ally Training Day here. It was a three-hour meeting in which campus faculty and staff learn about GLBT resources, and ways to support and provide a safe space for queer students and staff. This has always been something I've wanted to do, since so many of my friends and colleagues are queer.

It was a really positive meeting, everyone was respectful and most people contributed, and I not only learned about on-campus resources and ways I can offer support, but also some new ways to think about labels, and stereotypes, and what it's like to be in a minority (something a white straight male doesn't get to experience much). The Questionnaire for Heterosexuals helps here, as did a lot of what we talked about in the meeting.

So now I have an Ally poster on my door at work, and because it was Coming Out Day, I wore the "Ally" pink triangle button all day.

I'm not much of an activist, but it's nice to do something positive.

Comments

( 3 comments — Comment )
the_vague
Oct. 11th, 2003 06:24 am (UTC)
i think it's awesome that you did that.
any kind of activism toward a worthy cause is...well...worthy.
i don't understand sexual orientation discrimination, or any other kind...it makes me sad to know that people are getting harassed for being themselves.
szasz
Oct. 11th, 2003 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) I've really appreciated all the positive comments I've gotten about it.

I understand where some kinds of discrimination come from... cultural differences can create a huge sense of "they're not like me" which can generate mistrust and hatred if there isn't some kind of dialog. Not that I think those barriers don't need to be broken down, just that I can understand how the alienation happens.

Sexual orientation, though... I don't get it. There's this weird idea, among men especially, that you "become gay" if you hang around gay people, that I just can't comprehend. I have a lot of straight friends who simply won't go to this one club here where a lot of gays and lesbians hang out. "W-w-what if one of them asks me to dance?" they stammer. "Well, you say 'no thank you.' What's the problem?" But they just aren't able to articulate it. I guess people don't always understand their own phobias, but I don't see where they come from to begin with if there hasn't been any prior negative experience.

Anyway, thanks again for the encouragement.
starstraf
Oct. 12th, 2003 07:47 pm (UTC)
thanks
Thank you for taking the training - I like the "homework' on the assignment section - though would like to add one. Only use a restroom in public if it is a single stall, locking door type (like the have at Cinema cafe or Courior) - this is something that TG folks keep track of when going out in public to work hard to not put others in uncomfortable situtations. - to the point that I can quickly off the top of my head still come up with two options in Urbana.
( 3 comments — Comment )

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