By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor
The saying is, blood is thicker than water, but that isn’t always the case.
Family is supposed to stick together and love each, but that can be hard when your family consistently decides to support ignorant and bigoted views that go against everything you are as a person.
As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, your job is to speak up. We make spaces safer for the members of the community and spread awareness, which many of us happily do, but why can’t we stick up to our families and not make excuses for them?
Every day members of the LGBTQ+ have to be brave and speak their truth, defending who they are. Them choosing to not hide their true selves can result in them losing family, friends, their homes or everything they have.
Being in the closet is real. Not only because those who are in the closet aren’t emotionally ready to come out, but because the environment they are in might prevent them from doing it. So, for those who aren’t LGBTQ+, who aren’t in the closet, we have to speak up and defend those who can’t change who they are, it’s our role as allies.
Deciding to skip over a homophobic, transphobic, etc. comment from a family member seems way easier than confronting them on it. Especially if you are dependent on that family member for financial help or still live with them. However, imagine the thousands of people who became homeless or lost family members because of their sexuality or gender.
Can you call yourself an ally when you go home to people who target the people you claim to protect? I realize that confronting someone can be hard, especially confronting your family, but stand your ground, defend your views and try to educate them. Although, trying to educate someone can sometimes not be enough but knowing you tried is better than staying silent.
For those who are a part of the LGBTQ+, come out whenever you feel comfortable– but have a plan. If you feel you might need a place to stay, seek shelter from friends or relatives who will support you. There are even organizations that support LGBTQ+ youth such as the Covenant House, that has homes in over 31 cities for homeless teens that need housing due to coming out.
Also, if you do leave home, please take important paperwork such as birth certificates and social security cards.
People are more open and celebratory of LGBTQ+ society today, but that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t in danger every day because of their sexuality or gender. Various Trans teens and women, especially black women will grow up assured to be sexually assaulted and raped because of outliers of being homeless and trying to find somewhere safe to live.
We have to protect them and speak up for LGBTQ+ members who didn’t get to have a voice due to hate crimes and bigoted characters. To speak up to your family, friends, associates are just another step to assure that those who decide to be their unapologetic selves can be safe.
Featured image by Timia Cobb.