Being a Good Ally
By Joseph Evola
Volume 1 Issue 8
June 8, 2021
Image provided by Your Queer Story
My name is Joseph Evola, the President of North’s Gay-Straight Alliance, and I am going to help you out when or if someone comes out to you as LGBTQIA+. Coming out as a member of the community is something traumatic for almost everyone. The fear of not knowing what someone is going to say or how they will react, the anxiety of not knowing how your parents are going to take it, or even if friends are going to remain after coming out. Knowing this is crucial because a majority of people do not fully understand how traumatic coming out is and how much goes into someone coming out. Some things that lead into this anxiety for coming out are, people using slurs as if it's a normal word, or openly supporting Anti-LGBT groups, but the most important part is what you do after the person comes out to you. Now that you are versed in how traumatic it can be for someone to come out or why they are scared, you can fully understand why your reaction, and what you do or say in those moments, is very important.
First, be calm. Reacting with a surprised tone can come off as negative or demeaning during this experience.
Second, be kind. From what I previously said, it's very tough and scary for someone to come out to you, so make sure that they know how much you care about them. An example of this is showing them that you still love and support them, and show them that you will stick up for them.
Third, be proud. This will contribute to the aspect of being kind. By fully and openly supporting your friend shows them how proud you are of them, who they are, and the courage it took them. An example of this is how all of my friends took me to the Pride parade in NYC in 2019 to show their support.
Finally, be understanding. Someone who is doing all of this is going through a lot of trauma, and they might be frustrated with other people's reactions or just the stress of coming out. So if they might be struggling at being a good friend or whatever it is, understand that they are going through something that not many people experience, and they are just struggling.
I hope that after you have read this, you understand why coming out is such a big deal and why it is so important that you respond kindly and with respect for them.