Living in a society that is constantly trying to become more inclusive and more modern, it is necessary that all people, regardless of how they identify, are aware of different identities and sexualities. On Tuesday night the Rainbow Center hosted an “LGBTQ&A” where anyone who attended was able to anonymously submit questions to a panel of members that are part of the community. Each individual shared their personal experiences and gave insight on how their identity has shaped them as a person and how it continues to shape their daily life.
There tends to be a general thought that being part of the LGBTQA+ community is a burden on someone’s life that brings negativity and distress. When the panelists were asked how their identities have affected their life, the majority of them said it has enriched their life for the better. They explained how the LGBTQA+ community is so immensely supportive that they were all able to find their second family within it. Being a part of the LGBTQA+ community taught panelists the importance of allyship and working daily to stop the oppression and stereotypes that come along with being a member.
Allyship is something that all individuals should practice, regardless of their sexual orientation. Microaggressions, according to the panelists, are “statements, actions, or incidents that are indirect, subtle, or unintentional which discriminate against members of a marginalized group.” Many LGBTQA+ members have to overcome these microaggressions on a daily basis. Using the word “gay” as a pejorative or asking partners in a homosexual relationship “who is the man and who is the woman,” is inappropriate and should be corrected, even those offense may have been unintentional. It is during these moments that allyship is imperative. If you feel the situation calls for it, kindly correct others when they make these mistakes. The panelists describe allyship as admitting to not knowing everything, but acting upon the knowledge you do have to educate yourself and the people around you. Allyship is about asking someone what their pronouns are and establishing that safe environment. It is about using privilege to make change, asking questions, thinking before you speak and constantly educating yourself. Not only will this make you more aware of these statements which may tend to slip our minds, but it will also display to the victim of these statements that you do care and that you are trying to think before you speak.
Whether you identify as cisgender, transgender or non-binary, everyone has pronouns. It’s important that we all state what pronouns we use since one will never be able to tell by simply looking at you. When someone states their pronouns at the beginning of a discussion or places them in their email signature, it signifies that they are conscious of the breakdown of gender stereotypes. It’s important that society acknowledges that even though someone may look to others as male, that does not mean they identify as such. More importantly, spreading kindness involves calling someone by their appropriate pronouns and what they truly identify as.
One does not need to be part of the LGBTQA+ community to implement these actions into their daily life. Community and society as a whole is about being aware of others and being compassionate with the intention of creating a safer and happier environment for everyone.
Jordana Castelli is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.