McKinney: 'Ally Week' dedicated to supporters of LGBT community
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 19:10
Last week I wrote about ‘National Coming Out’ day and this week is Ally Week. It is a time when we recognize that we have people supporting us, helping us; we recognize that people are there for us and with us. I neglected to discuss allies in my last piece. Not because I forgot or just dismissed them. See, allies are so necessary, integral, and beautiful that I felt I needed to write something entirely dedicated to them – after all, they have an entire week set apart to recognizing their support.
Now, when someone comes out, people have to search within themselves, sift through their beliefs, sort through their education, maybe even strip away some of their learned behavior to decide whether or not they will come out in support. In many ways, I feel this process is even more difficult than coming out.
For years, celebrities have not only come out as gay but have come out in support. One of my favorite comedians, Kathy Griffin, has long since held to her ideals of providing support for the LGBT community. She marches in parades, speaks at events, mentions it on her shows and specials – for her, it’s not something that should be on the back burner. For her, it is necessary now. And that is what this week is about.
Ally Week is meant to show that the LGBT community supports those that support them. It’s meant to convey a sense of thankfulness that other people are aiding our souls, rather than deteriorating and diminishing our spirit. The comfort that can be given with a simple, “I accept you,” is almost unimaginable. And that is why this week is so important. Allies give so much to the LGBT community that it is just a short, simple idea to thank them. Thank them for everything they do, for supporting, for aiding, for building up the spirit of those that have long since been torn down time and time again.
Whenever derogatory words are spat at people in the cafeteria, whenever a high school kid walks out to find his locker defamed with words of hatred, whenever two people are arrested for trying to create a life together, allies are there to help; to provide words of comfort and a place to sit in a cafeteria, to provide a helping hand in cleaning a locker and a heart, to offer support for a couple attempting to build a family.
This week exists to thank those individuals. They do not have to take any of the detestable actions, they do not have to hear the words – they can choose to walk by, to be deaf. Instead, though, they choose to listen, to fight, to rally, to support, to be involved. It is remarkable, to me, that allies, time and time again, come out in support – when it is so much more difficult.
I think it’s time we recognize the LGBT community not just as those individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered but as the community of individuals who choose to take a stand against defamation. I think the time has come to recognize what they do. I think it is now more imperative than ever to recognize allies as not only members of the LGBT community but as the livelihood.
It doesn’t take much to say ‘Thank you.’ It’s only two words. Those words hardly compare to all the fighting Allies do. Those words, though, are the only thing that can be said. So, thank you, Allies for being there; for allowing us to come to you when we are troubled or in pain. Thank you for giving us a place to sit, an extra rag to clean off the marker and ultimately a helping hand to pull us from the deepest pit of despair.
This week is Ally Week. And it is meant to serve as a reminder that no one can face life alone. It is meant to remind us to say thank you – as often and blatantly as possible.