Being an LGBTQ+ ally and what it means to me
You don’t need to be LGBTQ+ to be part of the community. In today’s blog, Gabby Sole, Senior Business Administration Officer at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), talks about being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and what it means to her.
In May, I became one of two new co-chairs for the NHSBSA’s LGBTQ+ and Lived Experience Network, which aims to give a voice to my LGBTQ+ colleagues and provides a space for people to come together as a support network for one another. This has been a huge honour for me, not only because I’m an ally, but I also believe everyone should be represented as equal.
The LGBTQ+ Lived Experience Network allows for allies to join without exception – meaning that both those within the community and those who support it, can work together as a team to make our workplace the best it can possibly be!
So, what does being an ally mean to me?
My personal definition of being an ally goes beyond the LGBTQ+ community, extending to all protected characteristics and communities including sex, race, religion, disability, and neurodiversity. For me, this means that I openly support these communities and will go out of my way to ensure that they are truly listened to, and therefore receive equal treatment in society. In addition to this, I have pledged to take accountability for my own behaviour and consider how my actions may impact these communities.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in time where significant shifts in the rights of the LGBTQ+ community had already been made – so being an ally has always come as (and rightfully so) an expectancy in my generation. For those born prior to some of these changes, however, it has not always been the norm. Which is why it is important that all allies, old and new, will continue to better themselves for the sake of the community - even if it is a small gesture or something done in the privacy of your own home.
Although we, as a society, have come on leaps and bounds over the past few decades, there is still a lot more work to be done. We can all do our bit to contribute to this ongoing change – in both social environments and our homes. I’m not asking everyone to adorn their garden with rainbow flags or read the entirety of Section 28 from the Gender Recognition Act 2004, you could however:
- add your pronouns to your social media bios or email signatures
- join in and engage with the LGBTQ+ Network events, sessions, and posts
- be a listening ear to family members, friends, and strangers in the community
- if someone says or does something inappropriate, call it out
- be mindful of your own language/actions and any conscious or unconscious stereotypes
By doing any one of these, we could all make a big difference in someone’s life, by making them feel loved, respected, and included!
Love always wins… and that’s why I’m proud to celebrate Pride!