| MEG ALLEY
WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be an ally? An ally is more than just “being OK” with what others believe or how they live their lives. It’s more than saying, “Sure, I have a gay friend,” or “I’m OK with drag queens” or even “People can do what they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”
I have always been open-minded and accepting. I believe that we are all different and that everyone deserves consideration and equality. I had always considered myself an ally to the LGBTQ community. Then my transgender son Braelin came along, and I was faced with the question of what being an ally really meant. I took a hard look in the mirror and asked,“Just how far am I willing to go to support, defend and affect real change for the future of my son?”
I believe that ally is an action word. Simple recognition that there are inequities and injustices no longer seems sufficient. Until I was given the gift of having a transgender child, I lived in a supportive but passive world, believing all the while that I was satisfactorily engaged in support of those who are LGBTQ. However, I lacked the full understanding of what it meant to be in a true partnership with a community that wasn’t naturally my own.
When a country goes to war, its allies step up and fight for a cause that does not belong to them. Or maybe, ultimately, it does. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Simply because the fight isn’t my own doesn’t negate the role I have to play. The community that Braelin is a part of by birth requires those who don’t need to show up but are willing to: People taking action to ensure that the rights of the many are equally extended to the few.
As I raise my trans kid, I’ve begun to understand just how necessary it is to abandon my apathy and confront on his behalf. Without allies in this world, he stands alone. Having people who are willing to step outside of their privilege and insist upon equal rights gives Braelin a fighting chance. In order to achieve his maximum potential, he must have people willing to take action.
I have come to value being an ally, and it is remarkable to watch those around me climb aboard. On the day I had to meet with the school administration to discuss Braelin being transgender, I came armed with guns ablaze; ready to fight.