When I was 13 years old, a friend of mine was coming to terms with her sexuality and was struggling due to bullying. To me, my friend was still my friend. I don't see differences, we are all human. If I can make a little difference to someone struggling within my workplace and provide support for people who feel there may not be support there, then it's worth being a LGBTQUA+ supporter.
When I signed up to be an LGBTQUA+ Supporter, I still had a naive view: "why wouldn't you want to be a supporter or ally?".
As I've learned more about what it means to be a member of the LGBTQUA+ community, I realise that there's so much.
I was told by a supporter/ colleague that they had been asked why they also ( as well as me) had a rainbow lanyard "because people will think you are gay". They replied, " so what if they do".
That is why we need supporters and why it is so important we all keep challenging any form of discrimination.
The most wonderful and the most difficult thing you can do is self-reflection, and being an LGBTQUA+ supporter has allowed me the opportunity for a great deal of introspection over the past few years. It has helped me to grow to be a better ally to the greater community and to better understand and accept my own queer identity.
This has been a fantastic boon to the local LGBTQUA+ as well. It's been so incredible to go from seeing a handful of people wearing their rainbow lanyards inauspiciously under their coats, to see a sea of rainbow ribbons not only on campus but every time I go to Cannon Park as well.
There is still so much to do, and sometimes, things can look really tough, but that one small change in the everyday landscape of the community has, at times, given me the hope I was lacking that we can and will make a difference.
There are still generations who don't understand the LGBTQUA+ community, and we're not blaming them, we're just asking that they expand their minds, do the research, and make everyone feel included.