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LGBTQIA+ pride: what is the role of the allies in fighting prejudice and raising awareness about the issue?

Jul 2, 2021

Vale believes that prejudice and discrimination are overcome with open and transparent information and dialogue. That's why, over the last week, we opened our channels so that employees who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community could tell their stories and share their points of view on the topic. At Vale, we not only want to allow employees to be themselves, but also encourage them to do so.
To create such an environment requires the collaboration of everyone, including people who are not part of the community, who are the "allies". Have you ever wonder about what, in practice, it means to be an ally of the LGBTQIA+ cause?
Do you usually take a stand when you see a situation of prejudice and discrimination happen? Do you naturalize jokes that can often be offensive? When was the last time you defended someone who needed it?
We have set aside some tips to help those who really want to be an ally of the cause not to make mistakes that further reinforce the structural violence that society reproduces. Here we bring answers to phrases you've probably heard (and maybe even naturalized) and which are a way of reproducing prejudices.
“If we stay together you will change your mind”
“You’re gay because you haven’t met the right man yet”
Sexual orientation is not a choice or an “idea”; it is something you are born with. These kinds of statements are rude and show that the person is ignorant about the issue.
“You’re too pretty to be a lesbian, what a waste”
A person’s sexual orientation does not make them less capable of enjoying life.
“I’m not homophobic, I’ve got gay friends”
Having a homosexual friend or relative does not necessarily mean you have no prejudice. The key issue here is to recognize that prejudice is a form of violence and curb it in day-to-day situations.
“Your wife is quite feminine”
In this case, the phrase shows that the person still thinks that in a relationship between lesbians, one must be butch and the other must be femme. It’s important to remember that same-sex relationships do not follow heterosexual patterns.
“But have you ever been married to a man?”
Yes, a person’s sexual orientation is not set in stone. They can change or discover something new about themselves.
“I respect it, just don't come near me.”
Feeling attracted to women does not mean being attracted to all women and certainly does not mean disrespecting someone else’s desire.
“But don't you want to have children?”
It is important to note that being a lesbian does not make a woman sterile; she can have children if she wants to.
“Let so-and-so carry this tool. Don't you want to be a man? You can take it.”
Lesbians don’t want to be men. When it comes to carrying tools, each person’s capacity must be respected.
“Why are you crying? Men don’t cry! Hahaha... just kidding!”
This joke is not funny. It is prejudiced and offensive.
“Is he gay or not? If he is, bring him over here. That will make two of you, adding a bit of color here.”
This may seem like a joke, but it is extremely disrespectful.
“I understand what you're saying, but I don't think so. Maybe you got it wrong"
Being an ally, without a doubt, is helping to defend the cause whenever possible. Allies need to be willing to listen with empathy to those who really suffer from prejudice. And, above all, allies cannot minimize the pain they do not experience on a daily basis.
“I wouldn't date a bisexual person. It's a double chance of betrayal hahaha"
A person's sexual orientation has no bearing on their character or fidelity within a relationship. Being bisexual also doesn't mean that a person will automatically be interested in everyone in the world. Bisexuals are not confused and are no longer prone to cheating.
"But you don't even look gay"
What exactly does it mean to “look gay”? To be an ally, you must first eliminate stereotypes. Each person has their own essence and expression of personality, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Gays aren't all the same, and straights aren't all the same.

Source: http://www.vale.com/brasil/EN/aboutvale/news/Pages/lgbtqia-pride-what-is-the-role-of-the-allies-in-fighting-prejudice-and-raising-awareness-about-the-issue.aspx

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