*Scroll down for English.*

La semana pasada escuché mi álbum favorito de hace más de 20 años, y lloré. Voces Unidas fue el álbum de los Juegos Olímpicos de Atlanta en 1996. Cuando estaba en la universidad, estas canciones le hablaban a mi corazón tierno y esperanzado. Son canciones de abrazar la diversidad para alcanzar un sueño colectivo, de esperanza, de paz, de un mundo nuevo.

Rápidamente aprendí que cambiar el mundo no era tan fácil como una esperanza y un sueño. Se necesita TRABAJO. De hecho, el mundo se ha vuelto francamente aterrador para las personas que mantienen identidades marginadas a pesar del trabajo. Sin embargo, al escuchar otra vez esas canciones, sentí ESPERANZA de todos modos. ¿Por qué? Porque estoy en esta lucha con personas quienes esperan y sueñan conmigo, quienes están en esta lucha conmigo y yo con ellos. Y mientras escuchaba esta música, este poema llenó mi alma:

Me llaman hermana.

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A cartoon drawn by the Naked Pastor. Four boxes are shown. In the first, a rainbow sheep stands facing a wall and a white sheep at the gate. A crowd of white sheep are behind the wall. The head white sheep says, "Be patient! We're working on it! 2nd image shows the rainbow sheep sitting while the other sheep are inside the closed gate and wall. 3rd box shows a white sheep telling the rainbow sheep, "Still working on it!" The 4th box shows a pile of rainbow dust and bones where the lonely rainbow sheep sat while the rest of the sheep are safely behind the wall. The sky is dark.

The ache in my jaw told me they were coming. It always cramps when BIG tears are threatening. People walked to and fro outside of my office door, so I had to hold the body-wracking sobs at bay until I was alone. My jaw ached more. My throat tightened. I used the pain to focus and push through what I needed to do. Kids are counting on me and I was just reminded that I’ve failed another.

I made it two more hours, working to ensure that LGBTQ students feel safe in schools. (And let’s be real, hoping to change society at the same time.) Then I posted the following to FaceBook before leaving my office for home:

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“I love you whether you’re gay or straight. Or bi. Or pansexual. Or asexual. I love you whether you’re a boy or girl, or both, or neither. Not only will I love you, I will protect you and your friends fiercely. You know, I love you no matter what.”

This weekend, for the umpteenth time, I needed to make sure that my kids know that whoever they are, whoever they love, I will actively, fiercely love them.

Also this weekend, the United Methodist General Conference is meeting to discuss whether they will split over fully embracing their LGBTQ members. In 2019, many people are still confused about how to love each other in a way that makes people feel loved, which shows me they are still confused about God’s Love.

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Dear Wichita Public Library, 

My name is Liz Hamor. My pronouns are she/her. I am the Director of GLSEN Kansas, a local chapter of a national organization that works with K-12 schools to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

I wanted to applaud you for hosting an event with Drag Queens at the library in September (during Pride week). I work with hundreds of LGBTQ students and adults, and wanted to take a few moments to explain why visible community support is crucial. Read More →

A screengrab of the dictionary definition of stochastic terrorism

Many people who want to be called “allies” aren’t actually willing to put in the work to do allyship. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t know how and need some help. Other times it’s because they still need to learn one of the main lessons of doing allyship: It’s not about them. It’s not about receiving praise. Or about their own feelings. And it’s definitely not about staying comfortable while others LIVE uncomfortably.

Several months ago family members chastised me for commenting on another family member’s FaceBook posts that included a meme that had homophobic undertones. Now, the well-intentioned family member who posted it didn’t realize it held homophobic undertones, and I was aware of that. However, I know from experience that there are at least two groups of people who would recognize the bias… LGBTQ people, and those who are anti-LGBTQ. Which takes me to my first rules of allyship:

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I sometimes feel like losing my cool isn’t professional, but sometimes one has to be allowed to be human, right? Maybe I’m not always professional. Maybe sometimes I’m just real.

Well, I’m so ANGRY today, this week, for what this administration is doing to my trans friends. The emotional turmoil that they’re going through, the heartache, fear, anger of a government trying to erase them. Let. that. sink. in. Read More →

Maybe society (especially FaceBook) should come with Community Agreements like our GLSEN presentations and workshops. These are a list of expectations – a semi-formal social contract that we agree to use in the space. When we set agreements like: Lean into Discomfort, Call In instead of Call Out, Oops/Ouch, and Use the Language You Have, we set expectations that IT’S OK to make mistakes because that’s how we learn.

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Four graphic buttons/pins. One has the trans flag colors blue, pink, and white and says #IllGoWithYou in the center. One has a rainbow fist and a trans flag colored fist in the air on a yellow background. One says "GLSEN - My pronouns are SHE, HER, HERS". The last one says "ALLY".

What is an ally? This question is part of almost every presentation I do.  We discuss this whether it’s a 20 minute presentation for 100 educators or a six hour workshop for 10-30. The answers often range from, “an ally is a friend,” to, “an ally is someone who has your back,” to, “an ally is someone who doesn’t judge.”

Yes. An ally is all of those things, but is not ONLY those things. GLSEN research shows that visible allies play a crucial role in ensuring that LGBTQ students feel safe in K-12 schools, but what if I tell you that being an ally in the ways described above isn’t enough? That in order to make a difference, you need to DO allyship?

My team and I often say, “Ally is a verb. It’s not a title you can claim for yourself. It is something you must do. To be an ally, you must DO allyship.”

So what does allyship look like?

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DEAR WHITE FRIENDS,

I have spent a lot of time recently having conversations about why Nazis are bad with people who identify as being conservative, on the right, or who call themselves moderates, who think that people on the left who protest (sometimes violently) are equally as bad as Nazis.

*deep breath*

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“You can’t make everyone happy; you’re not pizza.”

I saw these words on a plaque a couple of months ago and I knew I had to have it. As a lifelong people-pleaser, I have spent the past several years learning the hard way that it’s simply impossible to please everyone. Add to that the fact that I love pizza and it became imperative that I see these words as a reminder Every. Single. Day.

My calling leads me to the center of discomfort on a daily basis. Enough outside my comfort zone where growth can happen, but not so far out that I require a blanket fort to cope. In this messy, awkward, super uncomfortable middle is where I’ve discovered that magic happens! It’s where I try to get others to join me in seeing the world in a new way. However, no matter how I try to engage people, I get judged by people standing outside of my arena who tell me I’m doing it wrong. I can be kind and empathetic. I can be hurt and pleading. I can be angry and confrontational (though rarely). No matter how I engage, someone always sees me as pushing away people who see things differently than I do. So what is left? Silence? I refuse.

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