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Am I an LGBT ally?

During LGBT History Month, I’ve been attending various social and educational events with colleagues from work. When they found out I wasn’t gay, they labelled me an “LGBT ally”. However, that description doesn’t sit well with me, because of what I perceive to be the expectations they have for LGBTQ+ allies (aka “the gender-sexuality alliance”). And I wanted to explain why I don’t like that label. I have a better label for myself instead…

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So we just had LGBT History Month.


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I actually attended a few events with some work colleagues.

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And one of them asked me whether I was gay or an LGBT ally.

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And when I responded I was neither they were really confused.

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You see, because I have gay and 
trans friends,

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and because I’ll willingly attend a lecture on LGBT history,


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people will automatically assume I’m an “ally”.

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And I’m not an LGBT ally at all.

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What I am is a human rights fundamentalist.

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Or, in other words, I’m a liberal and I’m a libertarian.

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What that means is, if you are a human being

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then I will passionately defend your human rights.

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And gays are human beings too.

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So. anytime the rights of a gay or transgender person are under attack,

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I am duty-bound to support them in their struggle.

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Now some of you are going to say: “but that’s exactly what being an ally is all about”.

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That’s because they’ve misunderstood what i’m saying.

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Look, I have a transgender friend.

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And, when she told me she was transitioning,

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my response was: “yeah, okay, but I don’t really care.”

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And she told me it was the best response she’d had,

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because she didn’t want to be hated for being trans,

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but she also didn’t want to be celebrated just for being trans.

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All she wanted was to get on with her life as normal.

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She wanted everyone to use her new name and just not make a big deal about it.

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And that’s exactly what i did.

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I had no comment to make. I had no questions to ask.

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We just carried on pretty much as before.

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Now, does that make me a trans ally?

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I don’t think it does, and I’ll tell you why.

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Because, to me, protecting the human rights of LGBT people matters.

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Protecting the feelings of LGBT people does not.

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So, if you are denied education or housing or employment because you are LGBT

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then I have a problem with that.

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If you are threatened or physically attacked because you are LGBT

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then I have a problem with that.

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Because those are all attacks on your basic human rights.

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The government should protect your human rights.

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And, as fellow citizens, we should be willing to fight to protect your human rights as well.

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However, it is not the job of the government to protect your feelings.

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Someone’s saying something you don’t want them to, someone hurting your feelings,

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is not an attack on your human rights.

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It’s merely an attack on your fragile ego.

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You can demand protection from violence, and I’ll support you.

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But you can’t demand protection from hurtful words and opinions.

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And that is where I draw the line, and that is why i am not an LGBT ally.

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If someone wants to call you names, or they use pronouns you don’t like,

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that’s hurtful and unpleasant for you. I get that.

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But it’s not against the law. And it should never be against the law.

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Being able to express an opinion without legal consequences

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is a vital part of living in a free society.

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So, if someone wants to say that “God Hates Fags”

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then they should be allowed to do that.

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If someone was to say that “Allah will send gays to hell”

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then they should be allowed to do that too.

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If a shop denies you the right to buy a cake because you’re gay that that’s a problem.

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However, if a shop refuses to produce a bespoke, gay-themed wedding cake  

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because it offends the religious views of the owner

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then the rights of that religious cake shop owner take priority.

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No-one should have the right to limit what opinions can be expressed.

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And no one should be forced to express opinions they disagree with.

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I passionately believe that everyone has the right

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to express their social, political, and religious views.

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Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right.

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And, as far as I’m concerned, it is an unqualified human right.

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Meaning it’s a right that should never be denied under any circumstances.

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And there are plenty of people out there who claim to support freedom of speech,

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but only so long as you are saying things they agree with.

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And this happens on both the left and the right wing

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But, the simple fact is that if your support for free speech stops

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the moment someone says something  you don’t like, then you are a fascist.

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Living in a free society has a price.

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And the price is that you will have to tolerate

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views and opinions that you find offensive.

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As Salman Rushdie has quite eloquently pointed out:

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“The defence of free speech begins at  the point where people say something you can’t stand.”

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“If you can’t defend their right to say it then you don’t believe in free speech.”

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And he’s absolutely spot-on. If you want freedoms for yourself,

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then you must defend the freedoms of others.

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Even when you don’t really want to.

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So, I will always fight for freedom of speech.

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And, if you are part of the LGBT community,

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then you should be fighting for it too.

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And not just because the right to express yourself

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is a right that has been denied to queer people for centuries.

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But because the moment you remove 
freedom of speech,

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the moment you start to limit freedom of expression,

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you are opening the door to fascism.

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And, when fascism takes hold,

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chances are, YOU will be the first 
ones sent to that gas chamber. 

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So, just be careful what you wish for.

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Anyway, to sum it up:

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I don’t give a f*** about your feelings.
I only care about your human rights.

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