Allies: An important part of LGBTU
What is an Ally?
An Ally is a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group [usually someone who is straight] who works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for the oppressed population [in this case LGBT persons].
Allies to racial, ethnic and religious minorities and women have been remarkably effective in promoting positive change in the dominant culture. Only recently has their instrumental position been extended to sexual orientation and gender identity. The past few years have witnessed the development of heterosexual Ally organizations which have helped to make the culture of campuses or workplaces more accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.
LGBTU needs allies, as does the LGBT population in general. To become an ally, and an LGBTU friend, just come to a meeting, attend an event, or email our officers!
Ten ways to support LGBT persons:
- Don't assume everyone is heterosexual.
- Do not ever out anyone. Just because you might know, don't assume that others do.
- Avoid anti-gay jokes and conversations.
- Create an atmosphere of acceptance.
- Use all inclusive language. Use "partner" instead of "boyfriend" or "girlfriend."
- Actively pursue a process of self-education. Read and ask questions.
- Acknowledge and take responsibility for your own socialization, prejudice and privilege.
- Educate others: one-on-one, group programming, teachable moments.
- Interrupt prejudice and take action against oppression even when people from the target group are not present.
- Have a vision of a healthy, multicultural society.
An ideal ally is someone who...
- Uses gender neutral terms, such as partner or significant other, instead of gender specific terms like boyfriend or girlfriend
- Doesn’t preface a statement on LGBT issues with “I’m straight, but…”
- Doesn’t expect an LGBT person to speak for the entire LGBT community
- Doesn’t assume someone is straight...or wants to be
- Treats partners of LGBT friends the same as they would a straight friend’s partner
- Doesn’t think of people as “my gay student” or “my lesbian friend”
- Objects to homophobic jokes in all situations
- Doesn’t tolerate homophobic comments
- Understands the basics of LGBT issues but is not afraid to ask questions
- Points out when a historical figure or author is LGBT and doesn’t dismiss LGBT content in literature
- Avoids stereotypes and makes clear that stereotypes don’t represent the entire LGBT community