What does being an ally mean to you? We asked Kenvuers to tell us how they serve as allies to the LGBTQIA+ community every day, not just during Pride month. Here’s what they had to say.
Lora Moore, Marketplace Intelligence Manager
Allyship for the LGBTQIA+ community is important to me because everyone has a right to live a life free from judgement and love whoever they want. Unfortunately, we are living in a time where the community is coming under attack, and bills are being introduced that take us back in time — more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills are pending in the US according to GLAAD (the world’s largest LGBTQIA+ media advocacy organization). Because of this, it is now more important than ever that members of the community have allies they can count on to stand up for them.
I am in my second year of being a co-lead for New Hope Pride, and I am in my third year of being a co-lead of Ft. Washington’s Open&Out employee resource group after joining as a member in 2016. Some highlights of these responsibilities are running a toiletry drive and dinner events for the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, whose mission is to create opportunities for LGBTQIA+ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community and to promote the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ youth in society. We just hosted our second annual Pride Flag raising event for Pride month at Ft. Washington. We also raise awareness around issues the community faces by doing tabling events outside the cafeteria, and had a small book club discussion last year on “The Real Lives of Transgender and Nonbinary Humans” by Brandi Lai.
Now is the time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think about the kind of support you’d want from an ally.
Reed Harris II, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead for North America
Celebrating Pride with a flag raising from Reed Harris II.
For more than a decade, I’ve been proud to serve as an ally to my LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues. Yet today, with more than 20 percent of Gen Z identifying as LGBTQ+ and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community being at an all-time high, so is anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and violence with more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced in states across the country.
So if you believe in equality and a more loving and accepting tomorrow, please join me this June Pride month, and every day before and after, in standing up to hate and showing your allyship to others.
Melissa Williams, Legal Director for Northern Europe
I’m a firm believer in allyship across all types of diversity. Speaking to a member of Open&Out, our employee resource group, at a recent DE&I event, I was reminded of some of the challenges people within the LGBTQIA+ community face. He shared that he doesn’t feel comfortable holding hands with his husband in public and checks whether it is “safe” (from an LGBTQIA+ perspective) to travel to a country before going on holiday. I love to travel — and this reminded me of my privilege as part of a straight couple, having never given it a moment’s thought whether being with the person I love could place me in danger.
With this, I am reminded of the importance of allyship — what can I be doing to create a more inclusive environment and educate others? When speaking to people I try not to make assumptions about their sexuality or the gender of their partner. (For example, not automatically asking about their “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.”) Instead, asking them or waiting for their cues. I also try to promote an inclusive space by actively sharing pronouns — I’ve added mine to my email footer and explain to others why this can help provide allyship to the LGBTQIA+ community.