My heart is heavy. As a writer, I can usually find the right words to convey my feelings, but writing about the killings in Orlando has been a struggle. People where slaughtered in a place where they felt safe. British writer John Bird said it best when he stated, “ Gay clubs are sanctuaries. If you don’t get that, you’ll never get our anger.”
Prayer is powerful, but there’s more you can do and throwing up a #PrayforOrlando on your Facebook profile for a few days. Below are 4 easy ways you can be an LGBT Ally and make a difference.
Know your Role
It’s important to realize that that as an ally, all discussions about LGBT issues aren’t necessarily for you. And that is ok! Being an LGBT ally is like a being a guest at Thanksgiving dinner. You’re invited to the table, but you should know what conversations require your abstention. Don’t be an alligator ally – with a big mouth and no ears! (Do alligators even have ears?)
If don’t have any LGBT friends that you can have honest conversations with, spend some time reading stories and blogs online. There is a plethora of talented writers that shed light into the complexities of their daily life while striking the balance of career success, love, and faith. Love is universal and you may relate to their stories more than you think. Also take some time to learn about gender pronouns while you’re at it:
Create Genuine Relationships
Don’t simply try make or find a “gay friend”. Join a group. Learn about what takes to be an friend, ally, advocate. This looks different for everyone. I’ve been lucky to have LGBTI friends and colleagues in my life that have broadened and challenged my thoughts and assumptions. When I worked at Emory, I had an opportunity to join an LGBT task force. I felt woefully under qualified to be a part of this group especially as a straight male, but for what I lacked in knowledge, I made up for it in my willingness to learn. It was an incredible experience, made me uncomfortable at times, and challenged me to take a stand in ways that I would have never done on my own. Put yourself out there and see what happens.
Donate blood, donate time, donate money, but DO something! Find a meaningful way to contribute and run with it. For the next 2 days, I will donate 1 dollar to Emory’s University’s LGBT Office for every share/like/tweet of this post (up to an amount TBD). Share the love!