Go beyond Ally Week to Support LGBT


On Common Ground members show off their Ally Week display case.

Here’s a scene I witnessed from the packed back hallway at the end of tenth period last month: Everyone was rushing to go home, and I was pushing through people and ended up in front of two boys.

“Hey you going to my game tonight?”

“Yeah dude.”

“Guess what, there’s a faggot on the team! Why would a fag be on the [omitted] team?!”

My face got really warm, I turned around and I stared at the two kids, hoping my look said enough about how disgusted I was with what they said. Unfortunately, it likely wasn’t enough as it was less than what I would have said during Ally Week.

Scenes like this don’t occur much during Ally Week. The hallways are quiet and people are biting their tongues. They’re on guard, making sure that their usual “casually offensive” words stay unsaid. They’re also aware that classmates will be quick to jump on them for poor word choices.

But after Ally Week is over, students’ support of the LGBT community often starts to fade. People start to forget to hold back from using slurs and being disrespectful towards the LGBT community.

In order to make a difference at East, students should not only participate in Ally Week but also carry on its spirit every week.

The student body can refrain from making hurtful comments, avoiding the use of gay slur either in a purposely derogatory way or an “accidental” way. But it’s also fairly easy to keep one another in check. If you hear such a word in the hallway, a simple, “Hey, that’s not cool,” will likely get the message across and show support. There are LGBT people in this school, and even when these words may not be directed towards a particular person, they could be hurt by your words.

Ms. Michele Curley suggested, “Students are aware of the problems that the LGBT community are going through. They want to make a difference, but they don’t put in the effort or time. We need to take action. Do not assume that someone is straight. It’s always nice to use inclusive language, for example, “significant other” instead of ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’.”

Ally week itself is a great way to raise awareness to the LGBT community. It focuses on being kind to others regardless of sexual orientation. It also reminds people of that their actions can be unintentionally harmful to others. Ally week is a time when students and teachers can step back and think before they do or say something that could be offensive to supporters of LGBT. Going the extra mile to make sure our classmates, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, feel comfortable is a great way to show your support.

But being a true supporter of the LGBT community means showing kindness and respect towards everyone regardless of who they are, and it’s worth far more than one week of commitment.