The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Hug a Gay: It's National Ally Week!

By Joseph Erbentraut in Miscellaneous on Oct 20, 2009 7:00PM

2009_10_20_ally.gif This, friends, is a very important week for LGBT folk. And no, it has nothing to do with National School Bus Safety Week, Open Access Week or Canada's (very important) National Infection Control Week also slated for this week. This, instead, is a week dedicated to you non-gay friends of the very same "gay magic" Tina Fey described last week on Letterman.

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Ally Week, a youth-led effort to combat anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment being recognized Oct. 19-23. As stated on the week's website, it is a week particularly focused on straight allies, people generally described as "non-LGBT people who are committed to ending bias and discrimination against LGBT people."

Chicagoland could have used a bit more allyship in the recent example of David Burk, the Geneva High School teacher who got off a warning for his use of an anti-gay slur in the classroom. Student Jordan Hunter said he was "disappointed" by the board only issuing a warning to Burk. This sort of thing is a rampant issue. A national survey, commissioned in 2007 by GLSEN, found nearly 90 percent of LGBT-identified high school students reported being verbally harassed at school and the majority of students felt unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation.

So, get out there and be gay-friendly this week. And practice some gay magic. Happy Ally Week, y'all.