Last year, I started a fantastic new book by Frank Lowe called ‘Raised by Unicorns‘, which is a collection of stories by people with LGBTQ+ parents. It’s one of those books that I’ve really savoured as I simply don’t want it to end. It’s raw and unfiltered, and regardless of it’s audience, it teaches the reader about acceptance.
Before I get started, if you’d like to give it a read, you can find it here.
Over the past few weeks it’s made me laugh, it’s made me cry, it’s made me reflect, and it’s whilst I was reading one of the chapters that I started to think about T’s position within the LGBTQ+ community.
What is an Ally?
A (typically) straight and/or cis person who supports members of the LGBT community.
I’ve written previously about LGBTQ+ allies as a business, but as a person, being an Ally is basically about being a supportive friend or line of support for another person. Specifically talking about the LGBTQ+ community, it’s about standing up against prejudice (including within the LGBTQ+ community! For example, the lesbian community standing up against Transphobia) and being supportive. It’s as easy as that.
That being said, being an ally often comes with it’s own perks. See, when you talk about being an LGBTQ+ ally, you’re often already from a position of privilege. LGBTQ+ Allies are quite often cis-gender and heterosexual and have a choice when they wish to be Allies. Pride is often a good time to be an Ally, for example. The numbers at a Polling Station voting for same sex marriage, as another example, however, will be somewhat different, especially to the numbers queuing for tickets to see Britney at Brighton Pride!
I see it all time, and it pisses me off. If you’re an Ally you should be there through the thick and thin. No matter what. Don’t choose Pride as a time to share our stories and history. Share them all year round and even more so when we’re being challenged.
And it is because of this behaviour why T will NEVER be an ally.
Regardless of how he identifies later on in life, cis-gender, queer or otherwise, as a son of two mums he will no doubt experience the same things we would have experienced as a Lesbian couple, and later on as Lesbian mothers. He will walk the same paths we had to walk as we fought against prejudice. He will come out as a “Rainbow Baby” millions of times to people; from peers to colleagues to potential partners, and will no doubt have to answer the daft and insensitive questions we were asked – only this time they’ll be tailored to him.
“But, who’s your real mum?” will no doubt come up a few times over the next 20 years! Perhaps seeing it from a child’s perspective is just what society needs.
So whilst ‘Ally’ might be the only position available to him and other children of LGBTQ+ families right now, being labelled as an Ally is insulting; as he is more than that. He too is part of the struggle against hate, he is our hope for a more equal future. He is our proof that, actually, LGBTQ+ families aren’t hurting their children. That we’re just as good a parent as anyone else.
Allies get to pick and choose when they want to be allies, our son does not have that choice. By calling him an Ally you’re therefore separating him from his community that he was born into so rightly deserves to be a part of.