What does it mean to be an ally to the LGBTQIA community?
Allies are people that don’t identify as LGBTQIA, but actively support and defend the LGBTQIAcom- munity. Allies take responsibility to educate themselves about the LGBTQIA community and issues that affect the LGBTQIA community. Queer folk can also be allies to other LGBT communities, as a gay person can be an ally to the trans community, and so on.
What are some things you can do to be a good ally?
• Advocate for the LGBTQIA community even when you are not aware of any LGBTQIA people present. For example, speak up when people use slurs, make offensive jokes, or use incorrect pro- nouns.
• Seek out resources to educate yourself about the LGBTQIA communityAs an ally, education is your responsibility. As a member of the LGBTQIA community, it can be tiring to be a constant source of information for allies.
• Educate others around you about LGBTQIA issues.
• Use gender-neutral language. Ask “Are you seeing someone?” or “Are you in a committed re- lationship?,” instead of “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Are you married?” Use the word “partner” or “significant other” instead of “boyfriend/girlfriend” or “husband/wife.”
• Never assume anyone’s gender, sexuality, etc. If you are unsure of someone’s gender pronouns, ask.
• Don’t use slurs, and when you hear others using them, explain why they are offensive.
• Don’t tokenize people who identify as LGBTQIA. Don’t introduce someone as your “queer
friend,” or expect them to conform to stereotypes.
• Check your privilege. Learn about heterosexual privilege and cisgender privilege. Recognize the ways that your privilege affects your life and those around you. Challenge the assumption that ev- eryone has your privilege.
• Confront your own prejudice. Most of us have some form of cissexist and heterosexist beliefs or at-
titudes. Try to recognize what those are and actively deconstruct them.
• Don’t “out” people without their consent. Just because someone has shared their identity with you doesn’t mean they are out in every context. Some people keep their identities covert for safety reasons or other reasons, and it is important to respect that if someone is not comfortable disclosing their identity.
• Support LGBTQIA organizations and events.
Why are allies important?
Allies have been remarkably effective in promoting positive change in the dominant culture. It is good to keep in mind that being a good ally to a part of the community does not necessarily mean you are a good ally to
the entire LGBTQIA community. For example, advocating for gay and lesbian rights may make you an ally to the lesbian and gay community, but does not necessarily make you a good ally to bisexual and transgender communities. It is important to educate yourself about issues that affect all the various identities in the LGBTQIA community, rather than just a few.
Here are some ally resources and ways to get involved: