This is a spotlight on various members of Unifor Local 649 based on topics of discussion and events happening in our Town, City, Province and society in general.
From time to time we will be showcasing some of our awesome Members!
Hi all! My name is Bob Taylor, my pronouns are he/him, and I am a service technician in Saskatoon. I have been with SaskEnergy Inc for almost 10 years now. I am also an ally for our 2SLGBTQ+ community and the proud father of a rainbow child.
I was recently approached by the Joint Diversity committee, asking me about being an ally, and what it means to me. The quickest answer is because I believe that love is love and that we all have the right be able to express on the outside who we are on the inside. And being supportive is something that anyone can do.
Growing up in a small town, the idea of the 2SLGBTQ+ community was never spoken of. It wasn’t until my move to Swift Current at the age of ten that I had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people. I learned quickly that every prejudice I may have had was wrong. I have always advocated for anti bullying, so for me to become an ally was a no brainer.
Being an ally is important. It can be anything from being inclusive to all to standing up for the 2SLGBTQ+. I believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
If you are wanting to be an ally, the key is to listen. Be open minded. Be willing to talk. Be willing to stop discriminatory jokes or talk, and have meaningful communication as to why the conversation needs to change. Sometimes, all someone needs to be an ally is to know that they aren’t alone. Sometimes, we have to face our own discriminatory attitudes. While this can be uncomfortable, it’s just a part of our own evolution.
Sometimes I am confronted by people who cannot reconcile the thought of being an ally. The way I try to explain is to tell them that someone they love may not feel comfortable to be able to be their true selves because of preconceived notions. And in the end, this is what my goal is. For anyone and everyone to be able to express themselves freely.
And since this is a safe space, I can admit that the pronoun concept was difficult for me in the beginning. Not due to prejudice, but because of the way I was taught English. I overcame that, and the easiest way to find a person’s preferred gender pronouns is to ask. For example, “Hi. My name is Bob and I am he/him. What are your preferred pronouns?” Give it a try. You will find, with a bit of practice, it will come across organically soon enough.
Thanks, and much love to everyone.
Happy Pride Month. Hope to see you at our many celebrations!