October 19, 2010

>Ally Week Voices: Adrien

>All during Ally Week we'll be highlighting stories about allies as part of the Ally Week story contest. Seventeen-year-old Adrien, a queer transmale student in Washburn, WI, has this story to tell about why allies are important to him. If you have an Ally Week story you want to share, email us at info@allyweek.org.

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I realize that the school I attend is probably on the safe side, but without the safety net of the students and faculty that support me, I have no idea where I would be. As a queer, transmale student in a rural high school in northern Wisconsin, I will stand on the rooftops to scream how important allies are to me. During the second semester of my freshman year in high school, I began further exploring my gender identity, transitioning slowly from female to genderqueer to male.

In the years that have followed, I have taught, simply through my existence, the students and staff surrounding me about the fluidity of gender. The journey has not been easy. My mom has been my biggest ally. She has been my backbone, my support group, my cheerleader, and sometimes, the one thing that keeps me pushing through. The encouragement my allies give me is phenomenal. Some days, the only thing that makes the journey easier is the people that continue to hold me up.

When my mom and I were lobbying in Washington, D.C. with GLSEN for the Safe School Advocacy Summit in March of 2009, we both wore GLSEN pins. Every representative that we talked to, my mother would point at her pin and say, “Straight is the heart of GLSEN.” Allies can help our voices be heard.

I have a couple things to say to you allies out there. First and foremost, remember this: while you support your LGBT friends, try to be as proactive as you can be. If you hear someone saying “that’s so gay,” don’t just let it go unnoticed. Being a bystander can sometimes be as bad as being the bully. But most importantly, I want to say thank you. Without your support, some of us have a hard time pushing through. I appreciate everything you do, and so does my mom.

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If you'd like more information on how you can be a better Ally to transgender and gender-nonconforming youth in schools, download the Ally Week guide: Be an Ally to Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students.

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