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"What are your opinions on the inclusion/exclusion of "ally" in the LGBTQ+ acronym?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

THIS IS SO INTERESTING. I think a lot of people are like “wait… then if Ally is included.. why is there an acronym… bc then it’s just everyone???” Which makes a lot of sense to me, bc you’re either in the community or a supporter of the community (or just mean, in which case GOOD RIDDANCE). IT’S LIKE, we all want an identifier, we want to be able to say, “yo I identify with THIS community, that is how you can connect me with diff groups of people, interests, and political beliefs” or w/e. It’s also a quick way to know whether or not you are safe in an environment. If the acronym is brought up, you see a safe space sticker, you read that all members of the community are protected, you see that there is an inclusive diversity alliance on your campus OR at your workplace, etc., these are all reasons that the acronym is totally necessary.

ALSO THO, those reason make me feel like Ally should be included?? IDK It’s like, if an ally has a sticker, I know I’m safe. If an ally creates an inclusive group at my workplace, I’m stoked and I feel protected. If an ally is like ‘hey, most of what I dedicate my time to is LGBTQ stuff bc that’s what I care about and that’s who I am” then like… they should be allowed as a part of the acronym??

I don’t know what’s right, but I’ve just started referring to us as ‘the acronym community’ because that way NO ONE is left out. The acronym is what you make it. Everyone is allowed in, because the whole point is that we are equal and safe and in it together.

Kristin Says:

Okay. Here we go. To start, the most commonly used acronym – LGBTQ – isn’t complete. There’s no “I” for Intersex, there’s no “A” for asexual, and there are many, many (manymanymany) other identities that don’t have a letter in that line-up (and maybe you agree with some of those letters and not others… I don’t know you!). Maybe you add a “+” symbol to the end to signify that there are more. Maybe your acronym has the”I” and “the “A” and a million more letters. A few people I know have abandoned the LGBTQ+ entirely in favor of GSD, which stands for Gender & Sexual Diversities.

SIDEBAR: I just googled “GSD” to make sure that was correct, and the first thing that comes up is The German Shepard Dog Community.

BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA. Phewf.

My point is: we are all trying to do something with all these goddamn letters, and that is to unite as a community. What does “community” mean? Well, that’s different for everyone. Some people feel that what makes us a community is the fact that, at the end of the day, we walk with less privilege than others because of our sexuality or gender identity. They appreciate the presence of allies, but they draw the line on community at the fact that allies don’t share that same, exact experience. Fair. Fine. I get it. Other people base community off of a mutual understanding of a different nature. Those people say, “If you believe in human equality and you are going to stand arm in arm with me through this fight, you are my ally and you are a part of my community.” Fair. Fine. I get it.

I understand both sentiments. You want to know how I feel, personally?Personally, I am of the “you link your fucking arm with mine and you are in this fight, you belong to my community” variety. You may be a person who disagrees. That is OKAY. It is okay for you and I to be fighting for the same rights and to disagree on letters in an acronym, so long as that disagreement does not hinder or dismantle our fight, or our ability to stand together to fight for equality.

So, now you know where I stand… but you also know that I respect you no matter where you stand, so long as we can all work together and be respectful of each other’s opinions. Allies are critical to our fight. You don’t want to use the letter? That’s okay. You exclude allies or make them feel like they don’t belong here with us in this fight? That’s not fucking okay.

Russo, out.

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5 thoughts on “Where Do Allies Fit In?

  1. I am asexual, and whenever an ally uses the A for ally I feel like I am being erased. Because if I ask an average accepting straight person what LGBTQIA stands for they will say the other letters (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) and then the A is always ally instead of asexual. Always. It makes me feel that my identity doesn’t matter, and it sucks.

  2. I hear you Adrian K. Not really sure any more which of the letters pertains to me. I used to identify as L then B but now I am leaning towards A so I guess I am Q for queer and questioning but there is only one Q, too.

  3. I agree with Aidan. First let me say that I’m not asexual or aromantic, but I feel really bad whenever some kid at school insists that the ‘A’ stands for ‘Ally’. In my GSA, we have many well intentioned straight allies, who unfortunately tend to erase any person not belonging to the ‘L’ or ‘G’ in that acronym. I don’t think straight people should be included in an acronym for queer people. It’s not because I want to exclude them, but I think a huge part of being an ally is knowing when to step down and let actual marginalized people have their space and share their experiences.

  4. I’m an ally and I don’t feel that I need, or even want, a letter. I think part of being a good ally is understanding that no matter how much you support, how much you understand, what your experiences are – they are not the same. You can support the community but I think it’s really important for the LGBTQIA+ community to be able to have that as THEIR identity, not for everyone. When you are marginalized, that sense of identity is extremely important – that identity probably took you years to fight for, puzzle over, come to terms with, own and announce. The sanctity of that should be preserved.

    It’s different but similar – I’m a vegan and even though I’m friendly and I love everyone, especially my friends who are super supportive, I don’t like it when people play with that label. I’ve heard people say they are “honorary vegans” or “mostly vegan” and it really upsets me (even though I keep it to myself). Vegan is a label that is hard to wear (I bet most of you are like, “Eww, a vegan” right now, haha) and wearing it is an act of activism. Just being vegan opens you up to all kinds of abuse.

    So, I get it. As much as I want to encourage my allies, I don’t want them anywhere near my damn label. As an LGBTQIA+ ally, I respect that those letters are extremely important to the community and I am totally fine with not having a letter in it.

  5. I’m with Nichole. I am a straight ally who has two questioning best friends. There are other communities for “Allies” and the “A” should stand for “a-sexual” or “a-romantic”. “Allies” may understand but, that is not an identity.

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