Commentary

I am not an LGBT ally, I’m an accomplice

As someone that has lead campaigns and has been a leader on many issues, recognizing that it is not my place to lead this struggle was a difficult thing for me to do. But I knew that for me to be a genuine accomplice, I needed to follow the lead of people who have lived this. I needed to follow those who have spent their lives engaged in the struggle for equality, particularly those LGBTQ people who are most vulnerable because as much as I can empathize, I can never fully understand.

It is also important for me to be accountable to the LGBTQ community and to accept criticism. It can be very easy to act with the best of intentions and still do significant amounts of harm to the people I love and respect by choosing tactics or methods that reinforce my own privilege. This is why, as I engage in this work, listening is one of the most important things I can do.

If LGBTQ people are telling us over and over again that something is wrong with our current tactics, it is important that we take it seriously. These critiques should not be taken personally; they should be seen as opportunities for personal reflection and growth.

I have learned so much on this journey and I am still learning, I am still listening, and I am still educating myself.

I will never be a perfect accomplice. I will make mistakes and those mistakes will allow me to grow. Sometimes I take up too much space, or reinforce gender norms, or I may even use the wrong pronoun. But, as an accomplice, I am willing to own that and say, “I’m sorry.” I am committed to being better.

I am committed to waking up every morning and asking, “What can I do to be in solidarity with the LGBTQ community today?” I hope you will join me.

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