Becoming an Ally

An ally is someone who is supportive of or willing to help people within the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community can include people whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer. An ally may or may not identify as an LGBTQ member.  Allies do what they can to advance the acceptance and equal rights for all members of society. Oftentimes, their work consists of challenging homophobia and heterosexism in the attempt to fight against oppression and other discriminatory acts made against LGBTQ individuals. Allies are most effective when they are active and take every opportunity to learn about the LGBTQ community. As an ally, one should be comfortable discussing their own beliefs, actions, and behaviors with members of the LGBTQ community and with people who do not identify as LGBTQ.

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How to be an Ally

-Learn more about LGBTQ community, to be a better advocate. Attend as many LGBTQ events, programs, conferences, and workshops as possible to increase your understanding of the LGBTQ community. By showing support for the community, you are increasing awareness and building stronger ties with the LGBTQ community.2

- Learn more about the specific issues that are harming the LGBTQ community.2

- Be aware of and familiar with any social privileges you may have.1

- Speak up and confront others. If you hear anyone using homophobic slurs, or speaking negatively about the LGBTQ community, explain to them and whomever else around that intolerant behavior is not acceptable. 

-Use inclusive and gender-neutral language. Inclusive language is a form of communication in which an effort is made to create a safe, positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment. For example, by referring to your significant other as your "partner" instead of your "boyfriend" or "girlfriend", you are promoting non-heterosexist language.

- Work to educate members of your own group about the different forms of oppression.1

- Remember that not everyone in the oppressor group is guilty of oppression.1

- Be willing to be uncomfortable. You may be the odd one out in a group, but being an ally means fighting for equality no matter what.2

- Be reassuring. If someone has the courage to come out to you, do not ask them questions such as, “are you sure?” or make statements such as, “it could just be a phase”. These are microaggressions. Work to make the person coming out as comfortable as possible. Be supportive.

-Remember that there is always more to learn about the LGBTQ community; the more you know, the better an ally you can be.1

The more allies we have in society, the more loving and accepting everyone will become of the LGBTQ community. People within this community face obstacles every day and it is important to be supportive.

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References

 
  1. Bishop, Anne. Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People. London: Zed, 2002. Print.

  2. "How To Become An Ally." How To Become An Ally. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

 

Last Updated 5 November 2016

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