The LGBTQ community has been shaken by extreme discrimination, beaten by unjust legislation, and riddled with the bullets of society’s cruel persecution, yet the community and its members stand taller and stronger than ever. Their pride solidifies them, allowing them to withstand the hatred they receive for simply being themselves.Whereas the average person would cave under such pressure, they choose to defy the world and take back their right to define themselves rather than letting outsiders define them. What is there not to admire about such revolutionary pillars of strength and force?

There is no singular experience that made me an ally of the community — I simply see no reason NOT to be an ally of the community. As an African-American woman who’s had to fight the double battle of racism and sexism, I’ve never seen a reason not to tie the LGBTQ struggle with both the race struggle and the gender equality struggle. In my eyes, discrimination should either be condemned on all fronts or it shouldn’t be condemned at all — there’s no in between. If I can’t stand for LGBTQ equality then I can’t stand for women receiving equal pay, and if I can’t stand for that then I can’t stand for police targeting the black community. It’s not equality if everyone isn’t worthy of it.

I’ve witnessed the agony that typically follows a coming-out story: isolation from family, segregation at school, and overall alienation from the whole of society. LGBTQ people are treated as outsiders, foreigners at every turn, and yet they persist, enduring separation from the people who are supposed to be closest to them and they adhere tightly to their values, for bending, breaking, and wavering are the things that this tough life teaches them never to do. As I watch them rage war against prejudiced viewpoints and challenge a government that attempts to steal their unalienable rights, I see them as boundary pushers, as justice warriors, as constraint breakers — and I salute them.

The most common weapon formed against them is the Bible. People preach that being with the same sex is a sin. To these sanctimonious people, I would encourage taking note of the millions of deaths within the LGBTQ community, a result of pure hatred and targeted violence — useless carnage must be a much more harmful sin than same-gender love. As stated best by Young M.A, a lesbian rapper who owns her sexuality with raw confidence, in her song “Kween:”

They talk about me like they past perfect
Like they present pretty, like they future flawless
Like this world ain’t got drug addicts and alcoholics
Rapists, robbers, dealers, murder, extortion
Like me being gay is so fucking important

I’m an ally of the community because I’m an ally of equality, of love, of life. We live on a planet that is literally tilted, so imagine if we somehow forced it straight: The whole of our existence would be disrupted. If we can accept an entire planet that isn’t straight, then surely we can accept people who aren’t either.

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