“I didn’t say anything,” Salas told CNN. “I’ve continued my transition since I was an adult and I didn’t feel like I had to explain it to anyone.”
But the transition period of Salas was not without difficulty. In the mid-1980s, she began working in the New York City Department of Social Services.
“When I first went there, I didn’t have the money to change my name legally, so I had to work in the boy’s name,” Salas said. “My first month there, a manager called me and said, ‘I’ll tell you this. You have to cut your hair. You have to hide your breasts, you have to be male because you don’t get any promotions. Whatever.’ “
Salas immediately filed a complaint and began working to become a case worker. When the benefits of her union began, she was finally able to legally change her name.
Salas, now 70, worked as a social worker for 29 years before retiring in 2014. Today she uses her experience to help with a social group for transgender older women.
“We’ve become a little close family,” he said. “We exchanged personal phone numbers with each other. We check each other.”
Older people in the LGBTQ community especially need support from each other and from the outside community. According to SAGE, an organization specializing in senior LGBTQ adults, they are twice as likely to live alone and four times as likely to have children.
“Loneliness is very prevalent in the community because many people don’t have supportive families. So, we’ve made our own families within the community,” Salas said. “Most of my friends who were gay and then out of transgender are dead. Many of my friends are now heterosexual women.”
June is Pride Month, which is a celebration of LGBTQ communities. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of the problems facing the community and show support from outsiders in the community.
But many LGBTQ organizations can help outsiders in the community who want to be good friends.
If you’re looking for ways on how a person can improve as an ally, here are some things to keep in mind:
In the workplace
Creating an inclusive environment in the workplace begins with the recognition that different hierarchies and privileged spaces are already established. Not everyone is on the same field.
Taylor’s ally’s journey began when he was a top college wrestler, and he was majoring in theater.
“I’ve always been around these two different worlds,” Taylor said, “in one I had LGBTQ friends who were out in the theater and treated with dignity and respect, and in the other I had teammates who used the language of gay and sexuality.”
They decided to show their alliance by putting on LGTBQ A sticker on his wrestling helmet, and the support he received was overwhelming. This prompted them to launch athlete allies with the goal of making the sport more inclusive.
Taylor, like many other people, said her own sense of alliance developed over time.
“It starts with that kind of internal work, internal work. And I would say it really goes in three stages,” he said. “There is analysis, awareness and action. That analysis is really analyzing your place or privilege – trying to analyze your relationship that is really damaging. I think trying to get a good education from there is crucial to knowing what to do and what to do and how to be the best ally possible.”
Get educated on LGBTQ Community
Another top action that people can do is educate themselves on the LGBTQ community and issues.
Taking time to learn about the issues and people of the LGBTQ community can help them because they are “forced to bear the burden of educating others about their identities and life experiences,” said Amit Pauley, CEO and Executive Director of the Trevor Project.
“If you are not yet an expert on LGBTQ issues, it is (right) – listen without judgment, practice empathy and start looking for resources from organizations like the Trevor Project.” Paoli wrote in an email to CNN.
Raise your voice
Work is needed to have a more inclusive world. SAGE CEO Michael Adams can do so by email, starting with one simple thing, “Raise your voice and vote when needed!”
“There have been many attacks against our community, especially trans young people, and many discriminatory laws and policies have been enacted,” Adams wrote. “It takes a great community of us all to come together for change.”
Athlete Allie Taylor said that belief is important in the key aspects that trans athletes consider themselves allies.
“If an athlete knows you’re there for them, you try your best to figure it out, create a welcoming and equal experience for them, and then they go. They feel safe and supported,” Taylor said. “Progress moves at the pace of trust.”
Being an active ally is a journey, so it’s important to acknowledge that there are always ways to learn and improve.
“Sometimes when people show up as they are, you know their alliance is above reproach. It’s disgusting,” Taylor said. “(Find) ways To accept the work we have to do to be the best ally possible. Find ways to be vulnerable about your shortcomings. ”
Taylor said that people should be aware of these weaknesses not only when thinking about the LGBTQ community, but also with all people.
For Salas, two things quickly come to mind when asked about the qualities she sees in the Allies – undetermined and respected.
“I call my cheerleaders – (they) are very supportive, very helpful,” she said. “They are always asking me, ‘Do you need anything? How can we help? What can we do?’ “
Pride month may be only four weeks long, but the LGBTQ community and other minority groups face challenges and discrimination every day.
“You have to be confident because it’s not an easy life,” Salas said. “This is not the life we choose. This is the life we are all born into.”
Available 24/7 at SAGE’s National LGBTQ + Elder Hotline 877-360-LGBT (5428).