Friday, 23 August 2013

How to deal with overly enthusiastic allies

Long story short, I'm not entirely sure. I was added in a Facebook conversation tonight by my sister, after another member of the community I'm moving to had heard about a homophobic encounter my wife and I had at a restaurant here during our brief honeymoon. Suddenly someone is setting up a protest in our honour, without first consulting with us before 50+ people have been invited and it's all over town.

That was jarring. I may have made that jar more palatable by pickling myself with my roommate's wine. May=did.

Maybe this post should be more about how allies should deal with wanting to be super duper helpful.

Step 1: Please ask us. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, ask us how we would appreciate your help or, at the very least, please give us a heads up before 50 other people are involved.

Step 2: See step one.

Honestly, I'm still kind of reeling from being tossed in the middle of things. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to be politically active in my new community when I get there, as I have been in every other community I've lived in since 2005. I'm just usually in charge of when I'm politically active and how. And in these past couple years I've subscribed very much to the philosophy of "picking my battles" to ensure I don't burn myself out.

So, allies, please ask us before you make us your cause. Your energy and enthusiasm and care is so greatly appreciated. I love your initiative. Just please understand that these are our lives and something that can feel extremely rewarding and cathartic can also put us at risk of community reprisal and make us feel threatened.

Please keep us in the loop. It's really important.