How To Be An Effective Ally: The Dos and Don’ts
I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to:
-Not use anti-LGBT language and slurs;
-Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where other students are being harassed;
-Support efforts to end bullying and harassment.
Above is the Ally Pledge, created by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for Ally Week, which took place this past week from October 15th through October 20th. Schools and students across the country have been participating in Ally Week, and I myself was lucky enough to attend some of my own community’s Ally Week events.
It is important to recognize that people of the LGBTQ community need their own safe spaces, and people not represented by that acronym have a vast number of privileges that sexuality and gender minorities do not have. Although it is important for the LGBTQ community to have allies, their existence should not pull focus from the LGBTQ issues at hand. Instead of celebrating allies, I believe Ally Week should be used to educate people on how to effectively support the LGBTQ community. My school’s Queer-Straight Alliance put together a comprehensive list on the Dos and Don’ts of being an ally.
-are always willing to listen.
-try to seek understanding and educate themselves.
-stand up against bullying.
-support LGBTQ rights.
-know when and how to refer someone to professional help.
Good allies DON’T…
-make assumptions about your character/personality based on stereotypes.
-act as though they’ve been through the same hardships LGBTQ people have been through.
-develop a savior mentality.
-challenge your identity.
-make excuses or brush off their mistakes.
Although Ally Week is officially over, I encourage you all to take the Ally Pledge and educate yourselves on how to be an effective ally. And to the LGBTQ community: We are here for you!