Dear LGBTQ+ Ally,
As we kick off Pride Month, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the power of allyship in the queer space. Too often, companies place an emphasis on the power of culture but fall short of creating safe and inclusive spaces for individuals in the LGBTQ community. This is what sets Cribl apart, this is what makes you, the ally, so powerful.
Did you know that goats have natural protective instincts? Goats depend on their companions for safety and will often protect each other. Unequivocally, I have found this to be the parallel approach Cribl goats practice. Prism, our LGBTQIA+ ERG, is packed with representation across the spectrum and equally packed with allies. Cribl has recently unveiled a guide to inclusive language which serves as a tool to reinforce the value of inclusive language across the organization. We aim to avoid stereotypes, assumptions, and exclusionary terms that may marginalize or discriminate against certain groups.
I grew up in very liberal Portland, OR where approximately 5% of the population identifies as LGBTQ. I was always safe and free to be whatever version of myself I wanted to be. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, working for a remote-first organization where the majority of my coworkers came from conservative southern states, that I truly no longer felt safe to be my true self. I was thrown back into the closet and had to hide most of myself from everyone around me. It felt strange and unsafe and for a long time, I truly felt like a part of me was missing. It was missing because without the freedom to be inclusively represented allies weren’t making themselves known to me. There was no one with whom I could knowingly share information about my life. I felt alone.
What if a place like Prism had existed for me there? What if it had been safe for me to show my true self to my colleagues and work friends? What would Prism have done to help hidden allies open themselves up to people like me who truly needed their support? On more than one occasion, close friends have confided in me that if only they had more allyship around them, they would have been able to find their true identity as a non-binary or trans person sooner.
Some of you may feel like you aren’t a strong enough ally, or that there are things you could do better or differently, but at the end of the day being an ally is simple. The most impactful thing you can do is to be a champion for LGBTQIA+ communities year-round. Remain aware of inequality and call it out where it exists. Take the time to create safe and inclusive spaces by using inclusive language and by creating support programs for LGBTQ+ individuals. Stand beside us 365 days a year. Be open to learning, listening, and educating yourself, and understand that people can have more than one identity. Remember that being an ally is an action and not simply a label. Do the work to confront your own prejudices and unconscious bias in everyday life.
The journey to becoming an ally can be uncomfortable, as it requires the willingness to confront and regularly check in on your own assumptions, prejudices, and biases. Be okay with that, sit with the discomfort, and keep trying. In doing your part to become the strongest ally you can to help create a stronger and more inclusive world.
Finally out, Finally proud. KJ