This article is part of the blog’s Pride Month story collection, which amplifies the voices of employees embracing equity across the company.
As we recognize Pride Month throughout June alongside the LGBTQ+ community, the topic of allyship comes up a lot.
My allyship journey began in third grade when my principal, Mrs. Carroll, introduced me to her wife. The most remarkable thing about Mrs. Carroll was how much she loved giraffes – they were all over her office. Meeting her wife was just meeting her wife. But those giraffes, to a nine-year-old, that was interesting. Even in my small, farming community, Mrs. Carroll and her wife were just another part of life. Maybe it was the rose-colored glasses of childhood, or maybe it was that they’d been part of the community for a long time, but their relationship wasn’t a big deal. I never put much thought into it but looking back, Mrs. Carroll was extraordinarily brave. It would be decades until they could be legally married, but she set the narrative for me and many other young people.
It was the people in the LGBTQ+ community that I had met, like Mrs. Carroll, my brothers-in-law, my niece and nephew, my best friend, and the wonderful people I met in the theater community who make me want to be an ally. When the Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) was created, I wanted to be part of it – to add to the groundswell of allies coming together to stand up for equity and make a difference for the LGBTQ+ community.
To me, allyship is active. It’s not enough to show up to the Pride parade once a year. It’s about calling someone by their preferred pronouns and understanding how language can include – or exclude. It’s about passing the mic to the person who hasn’t been acknowledged in the conference room. It’s recognizing and using my privileges to benefit those who lack them. Allyship is showing up when it’s needed and listening and supporting when it isn’t. Most of all, allyship is accepting other people for who they are.