What Is An Ally?
Steps To Becoming An Ally
Awareness / Accessing Resources;
Dont be surprised.
Respect their confidentiality, they have placed a
trust in you. A breach of this confidence can be devastating.
Do not be nervous.
Chances are that you have dealt with GLBT issues before.
Youth and your peers will be able to determine if you are
uncomfortable talking about issues around sexuality and
gender orientation. Be honest.
Explain that many people have struggled with these issues
in the past. Admit that dealing with ones sexual or
gender orientation can be a difficult and confusing process.
There are no easy and fast answers. Keep the door open for
further conversations and help. If you are feeling uncertain
or dont think you can be supportive, refer them to
someone who can be.
Do not put words in their mouth.
It is not our jobs to tell people what their issues are,
but rather to help them deal with the issues they present.
If a supportive environment is provided, people who would
like to talk about issues of sexuality or gender orientation
will know that this is all right. Allow them to define their
own issues. Listen.
Remember that everyone is a complex and unique individual.
Sexuality is only a part of the whole of a person.
Issues of sexuality and gender do not replace other issues.
Be someone who cares!
What Kind Of An Ally Are You?
1. Active Oppression
Laughing at or telling jokes about GLBT people.
Making fun of people that dont fit traditional notions of gender roles and sexual identity.
Verbal and/or physical harassment.
Working for anti-GLBT legislation, i.e. employment and housing discrimination, etc.
Gay-bashing and other forms of violence.
2. Indifference & Ignorance
Business as usual attitude.
Passive acceptance of actions by others which demeans GLBT individuals. i.e. walking away and /or not confronting, behaviors.
Ignoring the topic, i.e. lack of programming, discussions, training.
Adopting a liberal attitude of What people do in the privacy of their own bedroom is none of my business. I just dont want to hear about it.
Being friendly before you knew someone was GLBT but ignoring them after.
3. Oppression Through Lack of Action
If you here a friend telling a demeaning joke recognizing it as oppressive, not laughing at this joke but not saying anything to your friend.
Being uncomfortable but not confronting. i.e. noticing something on the exterior of a door which is inappropriate but not saying anything.
Students or young people sitting around labeling individuals based upon stereotypes and staff member or adult not confronting.
Avoiding participating in activities, such as this program, based upon what others might think.
4. Confronting Oppression
When you hear an inappropriate joke you would go beyond not laughing and would confront the joke teller by saying, Jokes that put down GLBT people are not funny.
Making a choice to participate in activities regardless of what others might think.
Be aware of and confront statements such as I am not prejudice, but . . .
5. Growing as an Ally
Read books and journals by, for and about GLBT people.
Be aware of and sensitive to issues that GLBT people face.
Attend cultural events like Twin Cities Pride Parade and Festival.
Listen to GLBT music, attend GLBT films, etc.
Educate yourself; dont rely on GLBT people to be the experts.
Make yourself aware of individuals, organizations, agencies, staff, faculty and courses which deal with GLBT issues.
6. Becoming Active as an Ally
Educate others, engage people in dialogue about the issue. Present programs to others.
Be out and public about your support for GLBT individuals and issues.
Be willing to speak on behalf of the person(s)/group being targeted
Recognize the efforts of others to confront inappropriate behaviors.
Encourage and promote an atmosphere of RESPECT. Acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate differences among individuals and within groups.
7. Challenging Systems
Create a climate where individual and cultural diversity is recognized and celebrated
Work for GLBT positive legislation. i.e. human rights, civil rights, etc.
Address GLBT issues through training.
Support Out GLBT people who can serve as roll models for others.
Change discriminatory institutional practices. Identify and work to change such practices. i.e. employee benefits, etc.
portions from Metro State ally training program