ally (third-person singular simple present allies, present participle allying, simple past and past participle allied)
1. (transitive) To unite, or form a connection between, as between families by marriage, or between princes and states by treaty, league, or confederacy
2. (transitive) To connect or form a relation between by similitude, resemblance, friendship, or love
Every time I prepare to speak to a group or head into court, I am reminded by the tremendous amount of support I receive from my allies and how important a role they play in my life. These are people that for no other reason but their love and respect for me, and our common cause of equality for all that align themselves in this battle in speaking out against prejudice and judgment, creating understanding and compassion for humanity.
President Kennedy once said, "Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder." These words are so applicable in the fight for human equality.
While I was speaking last weekend at a San Antonio LGBT pride event, I was inspired by all of the attendees, the friends and families supporting love equality. The Partners, the Sons, the Daughters, the Parents all out to express their pride and support in the person they love no matter the relation or connection. When one goes into war, one never wants to battle alone, one person does not an army make, an army is formed by friends and allies. There is no doubt that the battle for equal rights is most definitely a war. My lawyers are my Generals in my army, and our troops come from around the world in support of my battle for marriage equality in Texas.
I know an amazing story of support and acceptance in a family that I am quite proud to consider myself a part of -- the Farris family from San Antonio Texas. Mark Farris is a witty filmmaker in his twenties and has a transgender parent. Lauryn Farris is an amazing spirited trans woman; her desire for equality and the path in life that is hers has of course brought the two closer together on many things. Lauryn is Mark's biological father and transitioned into his "other Mother" in his late teens. While having been very close during his childhood, the anger that he felt when she "came out" to him was undeniable. He felt lied to and robbed of actually having a father. He says that in hindsight he recognizes how being raised by two Mothers helped him become the compassionate human that he is today. I met the pair at the Harvey Milk march at the Texas state capital in 2011. I was acknowledged for my work on Texas SB 723 that targeted transsexual marriage rights, making sure that it did not near legislation, along with many other activists and allies. Mark thinks and lives by the true spirit of support in all of equality and walks it out by attending events and educating people on issues. After Mark came to terms with Lauryn's transition he naturally took on the role of educator and supporter to the community that his family lives in. As the child of a transgender parent, a child is also required to have its own "coming out" process. This is a process that also must be taken into consideration when a family member comes to terms with their "true self." In this process Mark found his own identity as an ally activist. The entire Farris family, in fact, is driven to educate and support all of humanity. I have great respect for them. Mark is an ally to his family and to each of us and is working on a documentary about his experience growing up as the child of a transgender parent. I salute you Mark and thank you.
I am very fortunate to have had many allies in life. My family taught me first what an ally was, while growing up and morphing physically as a child from a baby "boy" to a young girl and then into a woman, I suffered the name calling and unique challenges that face intersex and transgender children. But never once did I not feel safe when I arrived home. I was always able to freely express myself and often encouraged as I cried about the difference between my body and those of my classmates. My allies -- my Mother, Father, Brother and Sister -- never once made me feel different or out of place. It is because of this unconditional support and love that I received from my allies that I am able to be the freedom fighter I am today. This was a formative time in life and helped me become the strong confident woman I am. Allies are important to successful personal development.
An amazing man inspires me in my life now. He is my biggest ally and he makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. It is through his support and love that I am able to help so many people, devoting my life and energy into supporting others in crisis or transition. For him I am truly grateful, along with my friends, family, legal team and many supporters around the world who spend their time and energy working tirelessly to achieve equality for all.
Often times we don't realize those in our life are our allies, our biggest supporters, because of that they are not acknowledged and I want to encourage you to express your gratitude and appreciation to your allies today. This reminds me of a quote "Feeling gratitude without expressing it, is like wrapping a gift without giving it". To my allies, I salute you.