Uncomfortable but Essential: The True Essence of Allyship in the LGBTQ Community and the Corporate World | Opinion

Photo by Alexander Grey, via Pexels.

In the journey towards equality and inclusivity, allyship plays a pivotal role, especially within the LGBTQ community. It's a journey that demands stepping out of comfort zones, questioning norms, and challenging societal biases. Being an ally is not about just nodding in agreement or offering empty words of support; it's about actively advocating for change, even when it's uncomfortable. The essence of true allyship lies in its discomfort – allyship is not comfortable.

True allies understand that standing up for what is right often involves confronting personal biases, unlearning stereotypes, and facing potential backlash. If you find yourself feeling too comfortable while advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community, you might be missing the point. In fact, you’re probably doing allyship wrong.

Growth and change rarely come without discomfort.

Corporate allyship, too, is not immune to this principle. While it's heartening to see companies embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, a genuine commitment to these values is crucial. If a company is quick to roll back support for DEI out of fear that it might impact sales, it raises serious questions about their motives.

This kind of behavior, often referred to as "monetization," shows a lack of sincerity and a focus on optics rather than genuine change.

Corporate allyship involves a commitment to dismantling systemic inequalities and creating an environment where every individual can thrive.

It means actively supporting LGBTQ employees, not just for the sake of appearance, but because it's the right thing to do. True corporate allies are willing to invest time, resources, and effort into building an inclusive workplace culture, even if it means taking risks or facing short term challenges.

The road to genuine allyship is not a smooth one, and that's precisely why it matters. Allies are called to speak up against injustice, even when their voices shake. They are expected to educate themselves and others, to amplify marginalized voices, and to actively engage in conversations that challenge their own perspectives.

This journey may be uncomfortable, but it's essential for driving lasting change. To sum it up, being an ally within the LGBTQ community extends beyond gestures, empty words, and company logos decked out once per year in rainbow fashion.

Allyship, especially Corporate Allyship, requires discomfort, growth, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. Whether as an individual or a corporation, true allyship means prioritizing equity and justice over immediate gains. It's a commitment that goes beyond optics, and it's a journey that, while challenging, is vital for a more inclusive and equal world.

Daniel H. Sohn is the President/CEO of The Pride Chamber of Commerce & National President of The U.S. Business Consortium


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