5th June 2023
The importance of being an ally: the pronouns piece
Civica’s Lauren Tubb speaks about her personal experiences and how you can still be an ally even if you don’t fully understand gender identity
A bit of context about me. I’m 33, so I’m a millennial. I’m not sure if I’m super ‘woke’, but I try and stay down with the kids.
I’m gay, so not bi or pan or gender fluid. I’m telling you this because I don’t speak for every subsection of the queer community. Just like everyone else, I have my own views, predispositions, experiences and influences. No one person can sum up the voice of a whole community.
Lots of people in the community get asked such specific questions about LGBTQIA+ topics that they have no idea about. For example, as a CIS woman I don’t have a clue what it’s like to be transgender. The only possible way I can empathise is that I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve felt that I stuck out like a sore thumb just for wanting to dress how feels right to me. I’ve been asked horrendously personal and inappropriate questions that would NEVER have been asked of my straight peers.
So, I can very much imagine how it would feel if I was treated differently, given the side eye when I walked into a room, stared at, asked highly inappropriate questions, and made to feel ‘other’ because of something that feels right to me.
Linking back to the title… the importance of being an ally. For those that sigh or roll their eyes every time they read someone’s pronouns, just think how you would feel if your entire life it felt like you’d been born in the wrong body or being forced to wear clothes you felt uncomfortable in. You felt alien when you started going through puberty, willing your body to look different. Just imagine the agony of going through that… and then imagine that people around you told you were weird, wrong or didn’t fit in. I imagine that would be hell! So, knowing a tiny bit of what that feels like by being gay, why would I want anyone else to feel bad because of who they are?
This is why I love seeing my work colleagues showing their support by putting their pronouns on their emails. It might seem like a small gesture, but it means the world to a lot of people. It’s standing up and saying, “I’m with you and it’s ok to be you.” Civica has been a great steward of this, encouraging people to put their pronouns, leading from the top, talking openly about LGBTQIA+ topics. They’ve developed the training and practices to make sure it’s an inclusive open environment that everyone feels safe to be themselves in as I do.
So, you may not understand this debate fully, but why should that matter? I don’t understand quantum physics or brain surgery, but that doesn’t make it wrong or bad. In a world where you can be anything… be kind.