A few months ago I was given the privilege of writing a blurb for the Straight for Equality website, which is a branch of PFLAG National. Click these links to learn more about PFLAG and to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Here is the link to my personal blurb on the Straight for Equality site. You can read the full story about my journey to become a Straight Ally here, here, and here. View this article on Huffington Post here.
PFLAG was a foreign term to me in 2010 when I casually passed their fair booth in Yuma, Arizona. It was the rainbow flags that caught my attention. I paused for a moment to scan the banner and was immediately engaged. My younger bother had come out to me just a few years prior and the subject of LBGT rights had become personal. I took a few pamphlets that day and vowed to swing by a meeting sooner rather than later.
I remember my first meeting well; I was overwhelmed with unexpected emotion to have found myself surrounded by people who had walked similar paths and had similar experiences. That first day I listened to the stories of members, both gay and straight, and I was really moved. I felt underqualified to consider myself a straight ally. I felt like it was presumptions of me to think that the LBGT community could need me as an advocate for the cause. The entire process was intimidating at first, but the members were warm and friendly and received me as if they had been waiting for me to arrive. They supplied me with free booklets on being a straight ally as well as information on gay rights and faith communities.
The more time I spent around my PFLAG family the more I felt the need for an outlet – a way to express my emotions regarding this process of becoming a straight ally. As my family dynamic became more challenging I knew I needed to take a stand. I began blogging on the subject of gay rights hoping that someone, somewhere would find it encouraging hearing another persons experience. It was surprising to me to realize how challenging it could be to simply come out publicly as a straight ally, and this gave me even more insight as to how hard the process of coming out is for a LGBT person.
The reward for taking a stand as a straight ally has been immeasurable. I have connected with so many people and have heard so many stories of the triumphs and trials that others have endured. I have been embraced with open arms by LGBT friends and have built relationships that I would have completely missed otherwise. Taking a stand as a straight ally has been freeing for me, it has given me a purpose and confidence I did not expect. There is a community of people out there who need our alliance and support to challenge the archaic thinking and change the tempo within our communities.