• Words of Others

    Hear me out: If I can be an Ally, anyone can.

    Hi everyone, I’m Rich, my pronouns are he/him. My wife asked that I repost this “article” I wrote as an Ally for our Queer and Allies affinity group at work. I’m proud of my company’s investment in DE&I and love being able to share in the support of everyone.

    Let me start by introducing myself and we’ll get the basics out of the way.

    I’m a white dude, obviously. I was born in Texas, lived most of my life in Utah and as of last year I now live in Washington state. 

    I’m married to my wife, Alie, and have three adult children, so we’re empty nesters with a fur baby up here in the PNW. 

    Let’s break that all down in the context of first impressions and general assumptions.

    • Being born in Texas; If you were speaking to me right now, you might assume that I’m “hiding” an accent. I do have a slight accent that comes out when around southerners, but I was an army kid in an army town so the backgrounds were extremely diverse.
    • Telling you I have lived in Utah most of my life, most people would assume I’m LDS. I’m not.
    • Having three kids and being married to a straight woman, you’d immediately think I was straight, however I’m Bi.

    Bias or assumptions, however you frame it, don’t speak to someone else’s journey. Mine, like everyone’s, is a sum of all the parts and the community identities we juggle.

    My LGBTQ+ journey so far has been as a strong supporter and Ally. More visibly coming out doesn’t change that.

    In a nutshell, I struggled with my own feelings and thoughts in a world that has a very rigid view of “normal”. 

    As we all know, your journey is affected by other’s where they intersect. Both positively and negatively. Ultimately people just want to have a say in their journey, especially when it’s core to their identity.

    Let’s be honest, this is why politicizing people’s identity is a problem.

    I was raised in a very conservative Catholic family, enough said. Like anyone in my situation, my inner identity was always different from what was considered “normal”.

    I had crushes on boys as well as girls, I had a couple brief relationships with men while not married. I wasn’t “normal”. The reality was it was just easier to succumb to the pressures of normal society. I mean I could go either way.

    If you know me, you know I like to tell a story, and there is a lot packed into that last statement. I won’t digress here, but would be happy to have a dialog over a beverage of your choosing. 

    Being an Ally has always been important to me. I hope that I can show people they’re not alone in what you’re feeling. These worlds are not easy to navigate, by any means.

    Yes I’m part of the community, but my journey as a monogamist bi – to add another label – has been to give into the pressures of what other people see as “normal”. A privilege if you will. We won’t go there today…

    Even as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I consider myself an Ally first. But Why? Because, my struggles are not as difficult as other groups in my community. 

    I’m not implying that anyone’s journey is easy and pain free. Like anything there’s a spectrum, but as an Ally I choose to put more effort in supporting and speaking up for those who need it.

    I ask you to join me as an Ally for all communities of people who just want to live their own journey without the pressures and biases of “normal”.

    Much like our own journeys, everyone’s “normal” is equally as different… To be cheesy.