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One Sweet Treaty

Defining "ally"

By Julie Gillis, 9:00AM, Wed. Oct. 6, 2010

One Sweet Treaty
photo by Just.luc Lu De Leeuw off Flickr

Ally. What the flippity flip does that mean? Since this whole Wednesday column is about allies and showin' em all the love we can since they do the same for us, I thought I'd just spell it out. Besides, I love playing around with the foxy Merriam-Webster, and it's nice to get things off on the right foot.

According to M-W, Ally is from the Latin alligare (to bind!) and as a verb means 1) "to unite or form a connection or relation between" and "to form or enter into an alliance."

As a noun, it means, 1) "a sovereign or state associated with another by treaty or league" 2) "a plant or animal linked to another by genetic or taxonomic proximity" and finally, my favorite meaning and the one that makes the most sense for our purposes here, 3) "one that is associated with another as a helper."

So, in our cases, straight-identified people are uniting with the LGBTQ community to form connections and relations (sounds good!) and who are acting as helpers to the community.

Uniting and helping. I like that a great deal. I especially like the helping part, because I think what good allies do, most of all, is support the needs of the intended community. We should take our cues from them, do what they need us to do, listen to their stories and learn, check our privilege and not get in the way. I think that it should be about that helping action most of all. What do you need? How can I serve? What change can I support you in, 'cause you know a hell of a lot better than me what you need and what your community needs to thrive and be safe.

So, how to create bridges to be a good ally? Here is a great list from GLAAD to do just that.

So, get your genetic or taxonomic proximity linked up on y'alllzzz! Bind yourself to each other and enter into the sweetest treaty this side of heaven!

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