Thursday, October 11, 2007

Straight allies

Sometimes, people mistake respect and support for GLB (and T) issues to mean that the supporter is in fact gay or lesbian. Of course, some people may believe the reverse as well - there is no way that a married person can support gays and lesbians. However, the support from straight allies has always been important, and there are a lot of people recognizing this.

A story in the student newspaper at the University of New Hampshire pointed this out earlier in the week. The story reacts to the kind of person who says "but I have a gay friend . . ." to mean that they are an ally. While written from a particular viewpoint that can seem condescending, it closes with a thought on being an active straight ally rather than just showing acceptance to a gay friend.

AOL News and other syndicates report that the organization Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) will recognize the author of "Dear Abby" columns with the "Straight For Equality" award to honor her advocacy for numerous GLBT related support groups and statements in favor of gay marriage. As well, Cyndi Lauper will help promote the "Straight For Equality" project.

Right here in Texas, we are home to the Atticus Circle, an organization promoting the power of straight allies in advocating for equal rights for GLBT partners, parents and children, founded by Austin attorney, Anne Wynne. The Austin Chronicle recently profiled the efforts of this group in a story about Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, a national event that encourages straight people to come out in support of their GLBT neighbors and friends.

And on Friday, October 12, Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, will launch the website - a site with resources to empower GLBT youth.

The efforts of the Allies Program does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and realizes the tremendous impact of straight allies to increase acceptance of and equality for all GLBT individuals. Become a visible ally and member of the Allies Program by attending a training session.

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