Coming Full Circle: “Why I’m an Ally”
July 5, 2012 by Guest contributor
This guest post comes from Samantha, an LGBT adoption advocate at Choice Network in Columbus, OH. Choice Network recently received HRC’s All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition.
Growing up I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a large support system. Most of my memories revolve around my grandparents and my mother’s sister, Dee. Dee and I spent a lot of time together and were very close, she would wheel me around the neighborhood in a wagon; we would play, and relax, and soon an impenetrable bond began to form.
As I grew a little older, Dee became my rock. She was my "favorite." She could do no wrong in my eyes and I wanted to be just like her. I’m pretty sure I would have spent every second of every day with her if it had been possible.
Then, one day when I was about 10, Dee was assaulted. My family tried to hide her from me as she cleaned up and took care of her wounds, but I saw anyway, and I was enraged. What happened—who did this to her? How could a person treat someone this way? As I stubbornly demanded answers, the response I got from my family was “because she’s a dyke." I was so young, I had no concept of what a “dyke” was, but it certainly didn’t seem like a legitimate reason to physically harm someone.
Soon, Dee came to explain what had happened. We sat and talked, and she explained to me that she was a lesbian, and what that truly meant. She explained that she would understand if I didn’t understand, or if I viewed her differently now.
That never happened.
I didn’t (and clearly, still don’t) see the problem with two girls (or boys) loving each other; I saw a problem with the person who hurt her. The problem in my eyes was that someone could and would hurt this selfless, amazing, wonderful person because she looks a little different, and loves women.
Our bond grew thicker that day.
As I grew up, we only became closer. I attribute so much of who I am today to her love, guidance, life lessons, and support. Dee has been more of a parent than I could ever have asked for, when she never had to be. She has been the most stable, loving, consistent, guiding force in my life and I cannot ever thank her enough.
Everything I have done in my adult life has been motivated by an intense desire to prove to that man who attacked her on the street, and everyone like him, that she
is an equal—an equal individual, an equal spouse, an equal parent, an equal citizen.
Dee is why I’m an ally for this community. She is why I am at Choice Network.
So now we’ve come full circle.
I have such a deep respect and admiration for members of the LGBT community. Recently, in only five months, I was able to help completely create and implement an LGBT adoption outreach program at my agency. For these efforts, Choice Network and I received the HRC Seal of Recognition for adoption agencies, presented to us by HRC Family Project Director Ellen Kahn. What an incredible journey! It feels so amazing to be engaged in work that directly, positively impacts this exceedingly deserving community.
To learn more about our journey of achieving the seal visit our blog at www.ChoiceNetworkOhio.blogspot.com
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