A handful of years ago, my partner Shout and I were visiting family in a small town in Northern California.
The plan was to meet up, eat, go to a concert then head home.
After visiting for a bit, we headed to the theater where we found ourselves being introduced by a cousin to what felt like everyone in town. The first intro went something like this: “Hi (so and so). This is my cousin and her wife. They’re visiting from Santa Cruz.”
After that first one, we let her know that we prefer the term partner, even though we’re married. It’s just a better fit for us. We got married after 19 years of partnership and it felt weird to change, so we stick with partner.
The rest of the night we were introduced as partners.
Regardless of the term, the point of all the intros was definitely that we were together.
Our relative was, in her way, being an ally. She was strolling us proudly through her community, pleased to introduce us to everyone. We already knew that she and her family went against the local grain and voted in support of the LGBTQ community; now here she was, putting herself out there for us.
It was totally imperfect and a bit awkward, but Shout and I recognized it was an act of courage.
She was taking action on our behalf.
The movement to create a better world needs to be roomy.
We need to make space for people to act, align, learn and be an ally in the ways they can.
Yes, we can all do better.
We have bottomed out and it’s time to get fearless and thorough with ourselves and the global structures that uphold racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, ageism, ableism.
And, everyone can start where they are.
There’s no other place to start.
For some, posting their support of the Black Lives Matter movement or Pride month on Instagram is an act of courage.
It’s a small step, but it’s a step.
If someone is taken down and criticized for taking an imperfect first step, do we really think they’ll step forward again as an ally?
We all have much to learn. We need to bring more intentionality and action to our daily lives.
It’s time to dismantle structural isms.
It’s time to educate ourselves and our families.
It’s past time to take a clear-eyed look at how those of us with privilege maintain an unjust status-quo.
We need to remind ourselves that being passively not-racist is not enough.
As products of a racist, sexist, homophobic etc. culture, our passivity upholds the power structures.
We need to be anti-racist. And anti-homophobic. And anti-sexist. And anti-xenophobic. And … we have a lot of work to do.
Starting right now.
Let’s all do what we can, with the gifts and platforms we have, wherever we are.
This roomy movement to create a better world needs us all.