We are seeing a disappearance in our community. A disappearance of safe spaces, LGBTQ bars, and our rights, which are being threatened with removal. When will we say enough is enough. We hear people claiming to be our allies, telling us they support us, want to stand beside us, and then we watch as they walk away and not want to be associated with LGBTQ people. When will we finally tell them that either you are with us or against us, you have to choose a side. Either you are standing strong with our fight or you are on the wrong side.
I watched a place become a safe space and lost souls came in looking for protection and a place to belong. Those lost souls quickly became a family and created a community. Watched that community grow as it became diverse and welcoming. In a flash they became the lost souls again. People often forget how a place can become an ideal for groups of other people. They forget the impact it can have and a sense of belonging it creates. When that place leaves us, it feels like ripping off a bandage leaving only sensitive skin that isn’t ready for the air and light.
The raw sting of someone saying they do not want to be seen as part of the gay community after holding up that they were an ally is painful. The sting only feels more deep because we supported them and wanted to see their success. It feels the term ally was only used for the “Almighty Dollar.” We were the fix to give you what you wanted. This creates a feeling of belonging and support, a place where we feel like family. Then we are left feeling abandoned and hurt when we hear that they do not want to be associated with LGBTQ people anymore.
The LGBTQ community can be a force when it wants to be. When we support a thing, we do so with a passion. We bring our friends, spend our money, and we talk it up. But when that same brand wrong us, we can be equally as passionate. Once we have lost trust in someone or see they’re not an ally to us, we stop any expenditure we were doing. We have done it with many brands in the past. When Coors did not support the LGBTQ community, leaders signed deals with other beer providers and gave them their business. In the end, Coors ended up changing their stance for the LGBTQ dollars.
If we banded together and only supported our own community, without being acceptive and receptive of those not like us, we would be labelled as being intolerant. Those actions would fan the flames of those who already seek to deny us equality. In fact, we would become the very groups of people we are fighting against now.
The end result is you do not have to agree with everything LGBTQ people do to support us to offer us a safe space. Nor do you have to go to the extremes of doing everything you can to alienate us and then advertise to our community how you want us to come and support you. In the end, looking at the world through such narrow frames will prevent you from being open to possibilities all around you. Watch your words and actions carefully, as they do carry consequences.