One sad discovery from this journey is that 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, it’s not about their own feelings, it’s not about staying comfortable while others LIVE uncomfortably.
Several months ago family members chastized me for commenting on another family member’s FaceBook posts that included a meme that had homophobic undertones. Now, the family member who posted it didn’t realize it held homophobic undertones, and I was aware of that. However, I am also aware that there are at least two groups of people who would recognize the bias… LGBTQ people, and those who are anti-LGBTQ.
Continue reading Doing Allyship: It’s Not About You
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. Continue reading #WontBeErased
Maybe society (especially FaceBook) should come with Community Agreements like our GLSEN presentations and workshops. 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.
Continue reading Let’s Agree to Learn From Each Other
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?
Continue reading From Ally to Allyship
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.
Continue reading Dear White Friends
“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.