I’m a proud member of OUTreach, Booth’s group of LGBTQ-identified students and allies. Sometimes people ask me why I’m a member since I’m straight. Well, it has been a great way to meet new people, make friends, and have fun – all of which are key to the MBA experience in my opinion. However, it’s much more than that actually.
An ally is someone who is supportive of LGBTQ people. This can be a non-LGBTQ person who believes that sexuality and gender identity rights (like me), or LGBTQ-identified people who support one other (i.e., a lesbian who is an ally to the transgender community). I’m an ally because I believe that autonomy, freedom of choice, and primacy of judgement should be paramount in democratic societies. I believe that no right or opportunity – either civil rights or professional opportunities – should be conditioned by or limited to who someone is or how they live their personal lives. I believe that allies can not only help in the coming-out process, but also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance, and mutual respect.
It doesn’t matter where we’re from or what we did before Booth, we each likely know LGBTQ people, even if they’re not “out”. More than that, we have definitely engaged in enriching discussions and group projects with our LGBTQ classmates here at Booth. So, wearing pink during the month of May, attending the Allyship meeting, celebrating at the #PinkParty in Boystown (May 21), participating in numerous events throughout next year, and engaging with and/or even joining OUTreach--these are all ways to show your solidarity as an ally. And it’ll be lots of fun along the way!
Looking back in history (for instance, the African-American Civil Rights Movement or the fight against the Holocaust), “allies” in a broad sense have been vital in helping minority groups overcome oppression and gain the fair treatment they deserve. People should have equal rights and opportunities – that’s not just about being fair and inclusive, it’s about being human.
I like to believe that all of my fellow classmates have come to Booth to make an impact on the world, leaving it better than we have found it. I know that we will keep seeking this goal long after our two years here at Booth. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. We have so many opportunities to start doing so today.
The Allyship meeting is two days away and #PinkParty is this weekend. Both events will be some of the most memorable moments for me here at Booth. I hope to see you all there.
OUTreach’s Allyship meeting: Wednesday, May 18th @ 11:45am, HC01 (lunch served). #PinkParty: Saturday, May 21 @ 8:00pm, Sidetrack Nightclub, Boystown, $25 through Booth Groups.
Geraldo, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is an advocate for human rights and civil liberties. He believes individuals can make a huge difference in the world through collaborative change.