Monday, January 16, 2012


In LGBT culture, there's been the notion of "allies" for a long time. An ally is most commonly associated with someone who is a friend of gay people and a supporter of gay rights, or people who go out of their way to ensure equality of gay people is achieved and makes it a part of their ideology, despite being heterosexual themselves.

I want to mention first, the concept of a "true ally". A true ally is someone who, despite being heterosexual themselves, make no distinction between gay and straight. In their heads, it doesn't mean anything that one person is gay and one person is straight. People are people, and sexual expression and orientation are different for each person. A true ally doesn't ask homocentric questions in order to "understand" or be more competent about their gay friends, but simply knows that everyone leads their own lives and nothing is therefore inherently homocentric or heterocentric. True allies are rare and surprising in Orthodox Judaism, as most Orthodox Jews are so stunned to find a gay person in their midst, it suddenly leads to questions and probing, as if the gay person is an alien for studying. It's always better to ask a question instead of avoiding it, but the true ally doesn't even have questions in the first place.

Along these lines, there's the opposite type of "ally" (and I use that term loosely).  From the straight female to gay male perspective, it's the friend who thinks that being gay is the coolest thing in the world- especially because it means now they have a gay best friend. The friend who suddenly takes you shopping and gossips about boys and asks you what they should wear, simply because you're gay. And not that the true ally can't do these things, but with this friend there's the underpinning of "I'm only friends with you because you're gay". When someone comes out, it doesn't suddenly mean that they are now a stereotype, or that they can now go to musicals and shop with you. It just means that they are expressing a same-sex attraction, and everything else about them is likely not to change.

I acknowledge that stereotypes and cliches exist for a reason, but I also acknowledge that very rarely do all stereotypes fit one person. I understand that after coming out, many gay people begin expressing stereotypical behaviors that were suppressed before, but that doesn't make them exclusively gay to the exclusion of their before-coming-out characteristics, traits, likes and dislikes. A true ally understands that meeting someone who is gay is not meeting a homosexual, but meeting a person. And this is something that every "ally" should try to understand.


  1. these things take time- if coming out is met with innocent ignorance, and an open mindedness to learn and accept, the person coming out needs to understand that conceptually some things may be novel for the other person. respectful questions are needed sometimes to have true understanding. in our society being an "Ally" requires searching out for answers and truths,because it is not readily given to us during our upbringing, and if someone meets you and it takes time for them to get to the point where you would like them to be, you have to remember that most likely they are coming from a society that for thousands of years have labeled and stigmatized individuals who identify as homosexual. patience and time- as a heterosexual member of this community who would identify as an ally, the transformation around me in terms of people learning and being open about homosexuality in a positive and loving way has been fascinating to watch and be apart of. Just for the record, I think you and I have benefited from an excellent education in the matters of acceptance and being color blind, gender blind, etc. and that education was not from YU and Stern. How progressive would the whole orthodox world be if they all went to hunter? :) and yes, girls that want to be friends with you because you are gay are nauseating. and i don't like them because they come across as fake and insincere.

  2. read few posts.

    leaving a scented trace from philippines.

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  4. Do you find that such allies are also likely to be the same people who are openminded and accepting in realms such as religion and race? In my mind they call for the same kind of acceptance of everyone as a human being, just wondering if you agree.


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