Queer Resource Center
How can I be a better Ally?
People are allies for a variety of different reasons, and have different levels of comfort, experience, and knowledge about how heterosexism and homophobia affects both "straight" people and LGBTIQ people. Accordingly, there are many different ways to be an ally. The ideas listed here are a few simple actions that anyone can do:
- Work to understand your own feelings about LGBTIQ issues
- Remember that there are LGBTIQ in your life, including ones you are not aware of
- Assume that closeted people in your halls, classes, clubs and jobs are wondering how safe that environment is for them
- Don’t make assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation
- Confront individuals who tell offensive, hateful anti-LGBTQ jokes and stories – this can be done publicly or privately
- Choose to participate in activities regardless of what others might think
- Be aware of and confront statements such as "I am not prejudiced, but..."
- Expand your LGBTIQ education by reading books and magazines and watching movies by, for, and about LGBTIQ people.
- Attend cultural events like Pride
- Educate yourself and not rely on LGBTIQ people to be the "experts"
- Take an LGBTIQ studies class, or another class dealing with queer issues
- Be a resource - make yourself aware of individuals, organizations, agencies, staff, faculty and courses that deal with LGBTIQ issues
- Engage people in dialogue about the issues
- Provide correct information when you hear myths of misperceptions about LGBTIQ people
- Be "out" and public about your support for LGBTIQ individuals and issues
- Don’t "out" others unless you have their permission
- Be willing to speak on behalf of the person(s)/group being targeted
- Use inclusive language like "partner" or "ze" or leave out gendered pronouns when not necessary, appropriate or known
- Say the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer out loud and not in a hushed whisper
- Recognize and thank the efforts of others to confront inappropriate behaviors
- Have clubs or groups to which you belong sponsor or co-sponsor LGBTIQ friendly activities or events
- Put up bulletin board displays that include same sex couples, trans people or references to LGBTIQ lives
- Remember that there is a heterosexual assumption, so actively advertise that LGBTIQ people are welcome to any events that you organize, especially parties or dances
- Work for LGBTIQ positive legislation. (i.e. marriage rights, civil rights, etc.)
- Support "out" LGBTIQ people and allies who can serve as role models for others
- Identify and work to change discriminatory institutional practices. (i.e. employee benefits, etc.)
- Implement trainings and diversity education programs in your work, religion, community, etc.