Update: Glad has changed the phrasing “A is for ally” to “Be an Ally. Build Acceptance”, which fixed really the only thing about this that was potentially a problem, so kudos on them for a prompt and reasonable response.
So I have mixed feelings about the whole #Giveitback thing that’s going on right now.
On the one hand, I like seeing the outpouring of support for asexual/aromantic/agender people and the clever messaging. On the other hand…the GLAAD campaign is not who we should be targeting with this, and I feel like some of the people throwing themselves into this have sort of had a reactionary response to the phrase “A is for ally” without actually looking at the context it came in. There are a lot of shitty instance of people trying to insert “Ally” into the LGBTQIA acronym while excluding other identities, but this is not one of them.
If you read through GLAADs campaign materials, you can see that they are very, very careful never to equate being an ally with being LGBT, not do they ever imply that there should be an A for “Ally” as part of the LGBT acronym. (Heck, even the graphics emphasizing the A clearly use it in a manner unrelated to the LGBT acronym).
Yes, “A is for Ally” is often used to erase asexuals in other contexts (i.e. when defining LGBTQIA as including ally but not asexual) but this is not what GLAAD is doing here. It’s an unfortunate choice of wording by them given how easily it’s misinterpreted, but what it isn’t is actual erasure. The focus here is on allies because the whole point is to focus on people who are not LGBT, like…..allies.
This campaign is asking allies to do exactly what allies should do – which is support LGBT people by using their privilege and position to help fight anti-LGBT attitudes in their communities.
It’s not coming from a place of demanding that allies have access to LGBT spaces, it’s responding to the fact that a large portion of the straight cis populace still expresses discomfort at the idea of being near or even seeing LGBT people – and pointing out that straight/cis allies have the power and the obligation to help change that.