I learn from them daily, how they overcome hidden stigmas and bias. How they cope with a world that, despite what Hollywood portrays, still does not accept them. Not them, us. I could easily go back in the text and rephrase the “them’s” with the appropriate “us’s”, but I like the mistake because it allows me the ability to correct it. We should never fear correction, there is no shame in it.
What we need is empowerment, not a savior. We need the proper skills to do things for ourselves on our own. Not necessarily because we will, but because we need equality, the ability and confidence to know that we can mitigate situations appropriately just like others. The same point is driven by most activists who represent a disenfranchised and marginalized community.
The tendency is for someone with a skill set to come in and want to lead the disenfranchised, well meaning, but it keeps us beneath. Albeit unintentionally. The right thing to do is to take a conciliatory position and guide the disenfranchised through the process transferring the knowledge for autonomy and, ultimately, self-confidence.
In the LGBT community we have straight allies, and we love them. We must remain diligent to understand who is leading us in our efforts for equality. Are our allies empowering us to become self-sufficient or are they simply wanting to lead us? We must scrutinize ourselves and our own motives as well as our allies.
Knowledge is power. Get some.