An LGBTQ ally is person who supports and honors sexual and gender diversity, acts to challenge heterosexist and gender biased remarks or behaviors, and acknowledges the potential for bias within him- or herself. He or she also promotes a sense of community and teaches others about the importance of outreach. There are many ways you can become a more informed ally, including: 1. View, read, and discuss websites, books, newspapers, documentaries, and other publications to learn about the realities and challenges faced by people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or queer. 2. Be open. Be open about your relationships with LGBTQ friends, family, or other acquaintances that you value, respect, and appreciate as members of your social circle. Don’t intentionally omit the fact that the person identifies as LGBTQ when you talk about him or her. In some cases, there might be an understanding about not disclosing the person’s sexual orientation to others depending upon his/her coming out process. If you are not sure, ask. 3. Speak out against offensive slurs or jokes and make sure that you don’t use them in conversation. 4. Don’t avoid acknowledgement of a couple’s relationship just because you are uncertain as to how a LGBTQ friend, family member or acquaintance would like their significant other to be referred to or introduced. If you are not sure, ask. 5. Help the kids in your life learn about and appreciate all different kinds of families. Be mindful that children are constantly receiving conflicting messages about gay or transgendered people from peers and the media. These messages have impact. Start a conversation about it. 6. Take a stand. Don’t join organizations that discriminate; quit ones that do. Let them know why you are leaving or not joining in the first place. 7. Support LGBTQ owned/operated and friendly businesses. 8. Encourage and support policy and program development for LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students. These policies and programs serve to promote a positive, affirming and safe university climate. Attend programming to show support for the community and to stay informed of the issues. 9. Write to your local or campus newspaper. Come out as an ally and discuss why you support respectful and equal treatment for LGBTQ people. 10. Correspond with or visit public policy makers. Make it known that you are a straight ally who votes and voices support of equal rights. Adapted from PFLAG.
Becoming an ally is about educating yourself. Developing an understanding of pervasive myths, stereotypes and misinformation will help you effectively combat them. read more