The Straight Ally

Let’s face it: we are in the midst of a cultural war. As the political year gears up for another Presidential race, as gay marriage slowly becomes legal state-by-state (and occasionally then illegal – California), as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ crumbles, the fight for gay equality has never been as vociferous, and hotly contested, as it seems to be today.

Thankfully, the tides appear to be turning slowly in our favor. Great cultural shifts don’t happen overnight, but in the last few years the strides have been enormous, and largely unthinkable as recently as the 90’s. The good thing is that we have not had to do it alone – because we couldn’t.

The revolution, if we are to fully realize a revolution, is going to depend largely on our straight allies. There simply aren’t enough gay people willing to put themselves out there and fight for it. Luckily, the enlightened straight people are taking up that challenge, fighting just as hard and valiantly for equality, as they recognize that to deny the rights of one person is to diminish the rights of all of us.

The more I thought about it, the more it struck home. All of my best friends – the folks I’ve held close to my heart for fifteen, twenty, thirty years – are, across the board, straight. Granted there aren’t many – I can count on two hands the number of life-long friends I’ve maintained – but they are the people who matter the most – Suzie, Chris, Missy, JoAnn – they know who they are – and they have been there for all of it. Unconsciously, I’ve surrounded myself with straight allies all my life.

While the villains often get more notice, the good guys wage a quieter, more dignified fight – and they pay for it with less fanfare and bombast. I’m guilty of it myself – you’re more likely to see a rant against a homophobic person than a congratulatory message on someone’s efforts toward equality. In an attempt to rectify that, I’m going to make a concerted effort to feature those who are working to make the world a better place, instead of those aiming to divide and destroy.

In the coming months, I’m planning to do a number of profiles on Straight Allies – those who have fought in their own way against homophobia, and for a better world of equality.

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