I have, and shall continue to, called out the bad behavior of people who want to be allies to the LGBTQ or any other cause. It is easy to call yourself and ally, to wrap yourself up in convenient phrases like “I don’t see color,” or “we are all gay.” As mentioned yesterday, some of the people who do so really do want to be good allies, they just mess up a little, others just want to feel like they are good people. Then there are real allies, people who stand up when there is enormous pressure, political or cultural, to not do so. People like Brendon Ayanbadejo and Rashad Evans.
Men in sports have always been under pressure to be tough and manly. That has often included overt homophobia, especially since the beginning of the pride movement. Too often we have heard athletes in a position to make things better for the queer community actually make things worse with their statements. So to have two excellent gentleman like these stand up for us is touching. Even with things getting better there is still a lot of pressure to avoid any semblance of “sissy” attitudes, which would include sympathy for anyone, especially the LGBTQ community. Neither of these guys gave in to that pressure though, and everyone, not just gay, bi, or trans folk owe them for that. Their example makes the world better for everyone.
This example needs to be followed, and not just in regards to the struggles of the queer community. It needs to be followed in our class struggles, our race struggles, and our gender struggles. More men need to be like Patrick Stewart and stand up against violence against women. More white folk have to call out their friends and loved ones for denying their white privilege. More of us with means have to overtly support programs that benefit the impoverished. We need to stand together even if we don’t stand in the same spot. Mr. Evans said it best: “I decided it’s not enough to not be against a minority, if you want things to go better for them you have to speak up with them.”
Being a good ally is challenging, but it is also easier than it looks and liberating for the ally in question. It frees you to be yourself, to be true to your convictions. You no longer have to hide behind the excuses of convenience or being “tolerant” of differing views. Being tolerant of intolerance is not wisdom, it is cowardice and complicity. For your sake, as well as that of those you would be an ally to, stand up, speak out and keep strong. It is the only way we are going to give ourselves the better world we deserve.