Bex Smith is an Executive Assistant at the Government Internal Audit Agency
When I look around at the world recently, I am truly saddened. I read the news and it feels like there is no good news, but despite there being a lot of sadness and heartache, I see glimpses of hope.
June was Pride month and one of the many reasons I love being an ally. I am sad this year I will not be able to dance in the street with friends and celebrate alongside the LGBT+ community, but fingers crossed I can next year.
I joined GLEAM, the Government Internal Audit Agency’s LGBT network, as an ally to show my support for the community. At 23 my friend came out to me and I felt so honoured that he chose me to confide in. I have listened to the stories of his dates, danced alongside him in gay clubs, and been on double dates with him and his boyfriend. My friend found it easy coming out to his friends, but I know his family still don’t understand it, and unfortunately that is the case for many. This is another reason I am an ally; I want to help open people’s eyes and help them understand that love is love.
My Great Aunt has been with her partner for around 25 years and she came out at a time where people were still very negative about same sex partnerships. I can’t speak for her, but I think she did not always feel part of the family. I am lucky enough to have my aunts around in London and I go for regular walks and lunches with them. Their relationship is so normal to me it is hard to imagine anyone not accepting it. As an ally it is my job to challenge those who do not accept it and help those people to understand.
I have faith for the coming years that raising awareness for the LGBT+ community will be easier as more people come accept it, but as an ally I must continue raising awareness, continue speaking out for my LGBT+ friends and family. Being an ally means showing support, challenging homophobia, biphobia, transphobia etc. If you want to be a good ally you need to think about the people who are close to you, we need to challenge the harsh comments or jokes people make as they are personal to our friends, family, and colleagues.
I am proud to be an ally and I hope I can encourage more people to stand with our LGBT+ friends and family.
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.