Staples: Let’s hear it for the Allies!Written by Lexi Staples | | firstname.lastname@example.org
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“Let me suggest that we all know someone who is left-handed. Lefties make up roughly the same percentage [of the population] as gay people. And yet millions of Americans say they don’t know someone who is gay. Unless those people who claim ignorance are living in a place called Fantasyland, they are most likely mistaken.”
— Betty DeGeneres
Let’s hear it for the Allies!
In late March, you may have noticed that the look of Facebook changed. Facebook reported 2.7 million people changed their Facebook profile pictures to red in support of marriage equality. On March 26 and 27, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of two laws concerning same-sex marriage: first, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and second, California’s Proposition 8. It was great to see how much support there was from the LGBTQ community but it was so much more overwhelming to see the allies, or A’s, reaction! A Straight Ally is a heterosexual person who supports equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
A’s, you are the far too often the unsung heroes. You take on issues by choice, not because you have to. You take risks for the benefit of others and you put the A in LGBTQA! You are so important and you help us to move forward in ways we otherwise couldn’t by helping to show others the gaps in equality.
So, thanks to:
- New York state Sen. Diane Savino who spoke out in support of marriage equality.
- An old friend who changed her picture of her beautiful twins to red instead.
- My mom and brother, who always speak up for my rights, and my family, who posted red in support.
- A best friend’s family who all went red and brought her to tears.
- The pink and purple flags that were raised up in support of trans equality.
- My partner’s mom, who called because she needed help and couldn’t figure out how to go red on her own.
- The companies that speak out and visibly support our cause.
- Those who understand that this is simply a civil rights issue.
- Those who want to but have yet to speak out.
- Toledo Free Press and TFP Star Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller — aka “The Godfather of Toledo Allies” — for his ongoing support, even though he takes heat for it.
- Toledo Free Press for openly addressing, supporting and reporting on LGBTQA issues and events.
As a community, we all need to realize that the things we say can and do greatly affect others, especially our young people. Can you think of any time in history when denying human rights was ever a good idea? Hateful speech and outdated laws affect us all and change is long overdue. We as LGBTQ people are a large and productive part of the whole community and we cross all social, racial and economic boundaries.
Too many times we are told we aren’t equal; too many times we are told that some rights are enough; too many times we are made to feel helpless; and too many times our youth feel unsupported and unloved. You are helping us move forward in this struggle for equality. You support us as our friends, our teachers, our ministers, our parents, our loved ones and more. You are changing the face of this fight and you show us that we are loved, just the way we are.
Thank you! Let’s hear it for the A’s!
Lexi Staples is director of the Pride of Toledo Foundation.