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Emj Dyall: As I grew up, I noticed how wrong it was to hide the people I love and so I am now open and vocal, fighting for LGBT+ rights

This month we hear from Civil Servants about allyship and how to be a good ally.

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By Emj Dyall

Emj Dyall is the Co-Friends Lead of Environment Agency’s LGBT+ Network

Imagine living with fear, not just for yourself but your own children as well?

I am a heterosexual, cisgender woman and my pronouns are she/her. I am an ally to LGBT+ people because I, like many others, have LGBT+ friends and family.

I grew up in a same-sex household and have seen the toil and hardship my family experienced as a result of their harmless love. As a child, I was forced to hide my family, and lie to my friends about them because they were scared that I would be subjected to bullying and harassment by association.

As I grew up, I noticed how wrong it was to hide the people I love and so I am now open and vocal, fighting for LGBT+ rights. Sharing my experiences is my way of being an effective ally, but being an effective ally is as simple as being open in your support LGBT+ people and their rights.

It is vital that we are loud in our support and love for each other – especially now. Lockdown poses problems for many people who identify as LGBT+ and struggle to be accepted by their family. Being forced to remain indoors around people that don’t accept you for who you are can be traumatising. Consider the transgender community for example, who may be regularly called the name they went by before they transitioned (dead-named) by their family and loved ones, perhaps even intentionally.

As allies, we set an example for others to follow; to show respect and tolerance to the people around us. We show a united front against people who discriminate against LGBT+ people, and we celebrate freedom, equality and love. This is important because the battles LGBT+ people face are never-ending – fighting for equal rights and to end stigmas against the community.

Be ‘loud’ with us!

If you also celebrate freedom, equality and love, and are willing to show a united front against people who discriminate against LGBT+ people, why not join your department’s LGBT+ Network.

You could also consider adding pronouns to your email signatures to normalise the provision of them, and include people that identify outside of gender norms or as genders that were not assigned to them at birth.

If you are already a friend of your network, encourage others to join too – together we can grow and become and incredible show of support!

Introducing our new resources for allies. Want to be a good ally to your LGBT+ colleagues? We’ve produced and collated a range of resources to help you.