By Mishkkaa Verma
Let me start by asking you this question—How would you feel if someone constantly judged you, side-lined you and disrespected you for who you are? I bet you would not feel good about it. I bet that at one point you would start doubting yourself.
Now, try imagining the lives of LGBT+ people who are struggling to be accepted by their families, relatives and friends for their sexual orientation. When one goes through these emotions, one needs someone to support them and confide into. In this scenario, the members of the LGBT+ community need more and more allies to come forward and support them. As fellow humans, it is our job to make everyone feel accepted and proud of themselves.
A lot of people wonder how to become an ally. I will try to give my perspective—it all begins with empathy. You do not have to be from the community to be an ally. You just need to support them.
There are many ways in which you can be a good ally and show your support for the community. For example, sensitising people about the community, setting an example in the way you treat the members of the LGBT+ community, thereby inspiring others to do the same, standing up for those who are bullied for their sexual orientation and, last but not the least, grabbing all opportunities to create awareness, about the community, among people you know.
Now, let me share a real-life story with you, of how my 79-year-old grandpa became an ally. My grandfather is a former Army officer and an anatomist. At first, he did not really understand the concept that people can have different sexual orientations. To him, sex and gender were the same thing.
It took me a while to tell him that sex is the biological part of a being, but gender is a social construct. He was sceptical but curious, so after some time, he took the initiative and started watching videos, researching and reading articles about the LGBT+ community. This changed his point of view about the LGBT+ community in a positive way.
I am proud to say that today, even he is an ally. That brings me to the conclusion that if a 79-year-old man can change the way he thinks about the community, and can become an ally for them, then why can’t we do it?
Excerpt from the book EQUALLY: Stories by Friends of the Queer World. Published by Rupa, the first of its kind anthology put together by Pride Circle is due to be released on 9 April 2021. Find more about the book here.