2012 is a strange time in the fight to end inequality. On paper we are closer than ever before, and although this is true, our country is also becoming more and more polarized as a byproduct of this undeniable progress. While it is important to celebrate each victory large or small, there is obviously still a great struggle ahead. Our roles as straight allies of LGBTQ Americans are becoming not only clearer but increasingly vital as we go further down the road toward change. We have reached a moment in which wavering apathy is simply a non-option, as it is an endorsement in itself of the treatment of LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens. As straight allies, we have to realize that the time is now to take a critical look at ourselves and to question how and where we are allowing hate to exist and, therefore, to breed.
A large part of being an ally is establishing ourselves within our social and professional circles as people who will not tolerate homophobia in any form or under any circumstance. This is also, in many ways, the hardest part. It goes without saying that bringing up weighty issues can be awkward in social situations — even more so, standing up to a colleague or a friend.