The LGBTQ+ community needs allies now more than ever
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States, citing an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country. These pieces of legislation are more than just headlines — they have a severe impact on people’s livelihoods.
As LGBTQ+ people face an unapologetic attempt to diminish their humanity, they need unequivocal sisterhood, brotherhood and especially support.
While it can be easy to tune out the passing bills like the of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws recently introduced in Florida, they should be taken seriously by LGBTQ+ people and allies alike.
The objective of bills like these is to reinforce an archetype that limits individual expression, and it’s imperative that allies recognize this onslaught against queer individuals for what it is: pure bigotry.
When people fail to recognize hatred as what it is, a precedent of discrimination is established. Make no mistake; these legislative actions come from a place of ignorance and prejudice. While it can be easy to respond with anger, support and love are what’s really needed right now.
For many queer individuals, having a supportive family is not always a given. From a young age, many of them have had to fight for acceptance and their own humanity without the support of the people who were supposed to protect them.
Any LGBTQ+ individual will tell you that the road to acceptance is far from easy. For well-meaning allies, it’s important to remember that living authentically as the person you are is a privilege few have.
For some, coming out is too big of a risk. The potential backlash they might face should they one day choose to live as their authentic selves can be overwhelming and damaging. Especially in times like these, that pressure can lead to tragic consequences.
Data shows that LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, with almost half of bisexual youth stating that they had seriously considered suicide at some point. Mental health for many LGBTQ+ youth is in crisis, and it’s not going to get better without committed allies.
Some might say that you shouldn’t care whether someone is gay or not. The truth is, you actually should. The ultimate goal of the recent legislation is to silence LGBTQ+ individuals and instill fear upon them. If allies are unwilling to amplify queer voices, they’re likely to end up being silenced.
In order for allies to truly cultivate a safe space for queer people and those who might be questioning, they need to first acknowledge their queerness. While it might seem obvious, it’s important for them to know that their queerness makes them who they are instead of lessening their worth.
This world will never be perfect, but we should at least try to create a more just society for everyone. It’s crucial that we continue to build safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals both inside and outside UH.
Safe spaces aren’t just important for LGBTQ+ individuals, though. Remember: gay doesn’t look one way. You never know who might be questioning their sexuality. Creating an area for people to ask questions comfortably could give someone a chance to discover who they are.
Gloria Steinem, an activist known for her contributions to second-wave feminism, once said, “Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood.”
Although Steinem’s quote was intended as a message for women and the feminist movement, it’s not hard to see how her ideas could be expanded to include LGBTQ+ individuals. Even if you don’t think you’re doing all that much, your friendship with a queer person might mean the world to them.
So stand strong in your sisterhood and don’t back down when the people you love are under attack. You never know, you might just end up saving their life.
Jose Acuna Cruz is an English freshman who can be reached at