Ally or ally?

Welcome to the fourth submission of my LGBT FAQ. The first three submissions were focused on Pride month. My goal with this blog is to give you a quick, A to Z reference to #spreadpridetosavelives. Yep! Twenty-six entries each focused on a different letter of the alphabet. Nowwwww, let’s jump into the A-Z resources starting with the letter “A!”

I was a middle school counselor for many years and taught classroom lessons (LOVED it!). One lesson that made me stop in my tracks had to do with introducing the term “Ally” to a group of 7th graders. As I was getting my groove on to engage these adolescents, a small hand shot up to ask a question. I called on the student and loved her comment as I wrote the term ally on the board (yep, old school)…

Student named Ally: “Ms. Koenecke, that’s my name”

Me: “Why yes it is”

Student named Ally: ” So does that make me an automatic ally?

Me: “What do you think?”

Student named Ally: “Absolutely, and now wherever I go, people will know that I’m an ally just by looking at my name Ally.”

Me: “Ally, thanks for being an excellent ally, and students, that is also called a homonym.”

After this lesson, I reflected upon this homonym and how in later lessons we would discuss that homo means same in Greek. So, if we are all the same in theory, why is there so much hate?

So, what is an ally? Great question! If you’re reading this, YOU are an ally! Congrats and THANK YOU! An ally is a friend, a pal. In any marginalized community, an ally is a supporter that will stand up to discriminatory practices, using their position of strength as a member of the community not being marginalized. An ally acts when they hear or see anything offensive against a marginalized community. When they hear a homophobic, transphobic, or any slanderous joke, an ally stops the joke and stands up for any inequities.

In my recent podcast with Holly Duckworth of Everyday Mindfulness, Holly asked my advice on being an ally. My advice to her — and to you, dear reader — is to display a rainbow in your space. This could be a rainbow ribbon, a rainbow sticker, or even a rainbow flag to denote you are an ally. As in my first submission, the rainbow is a symbol of unity for our LGBTQIA community. Thank you for saving a life!

~Lisa “Lady Rainbow” Koenecke

Published by Lisa Koenecke

An award-winning motivational speaker looking to help you succeed! Lisa is a proven collaborative leader and systems change advocate. She grew up on a farm and spent 20 summers as a camp director for both the YMCA and the Girl Scouts. After receiving her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, she has been a middle and high school counselor for 12 years. She is the Past President of the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and has served on the American School Counselor Association Board of Directors. Currently, Lisa is an Adjunct Instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of counselors.

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