Updated: Dec 4, 2020
I am an ally. I grew up knowing NOTHING about the LGBTQ+ community. I grew up in an Albanian household.
Albania was one of the most homophobic countries in Europe. “Up until the mid 90s if you were openly gay in Albania you would be sent to prison.” Thankfully when the Albanian communist Enver Hoxha died, Albania’s prejudice ways were slowly fading. (Under this blog I will post a YouTube video on the struggle of being gay in Albania.)
People of the LGBTQ+ community in Albania faced a lot of violence, shunning in their own family, and sometimes even death. Albanians believed they should not be free to live how they want.
To kind of explain what living in a foreign household that has grown out of the “old country” ways is like I’ll give you an example.
My Grandma who didn’t and still doesn’t speak English went out to dinner for my little sisters’ birthday, Brandon my sisters best friend came to that dinner. My grandma had never met Brandon before, and never really knew what being gay was. (She grew up in Albania until the 2000’s)
Brandon was wearing earrings, and after the dinner she came up to me to ask why, as I explained to her that he was gay, and how it is acceptable in the gay culture to express femininity like wearing jewelry then it is in the straight culture. It took her a minute to understand that information but when she did, she showed Brandon with hugs and love that she supports him and is happy for him.
I have learned a lot about myself listening to Brandon’s story’s and experiences.
I am grateful to be a contributing factor to the FBN family.
I have a list of things us as allies can do to be the change we want to see in the world.
Here are 4 key starting points in doing your best to support unity for all of us.
The willingness to learn about experiences, history, and political issues of LGBTQ+ community should be the first place you start. Here is a link to a reliable resource you can read on.
Listening to story’s and hearing exactly what someone is feeling is what you should be doing instead of blocking out what they have to say and quickly explain to them you are not sexist, homophobic or racist. You also have to remember your listening to 1 person’s experience. This does not mean every LGBTQ person has the same.
Sometimes learning new information can be uncomfortable to you. If you overcome that discomfort, you will individually grow as a person. Everybody makes mistakes, I know I have. I have called people wrong pronouns which resulted me being in an uncomfortable situation. Being in those type of situations gives you a chance to learn.
We have all heard those terrible words people call people of the LGBTQ+ community whether it be in school, at work, online, or even the grocery store. This is people trying to label and separate us as a whole. Being an ally is kind of a bridge, if you hear those derogatory names, don’t be afraid to stand up.
I am a proud ally, and I love you so much Brandon.
“The Struggle of Being Gay In Albania”