How To Be An LGBTQ Ally

By Jessica Mahmoud on May 26, 2015

A word that people don’t always hear or know much about is “ally.”

An ally, in simple terms, is a supporter. This can be a supporter for any community or individual, but I’m going to focus on LGBTQ allies in this article. The LGBTQ community is an oppressed group, and needs all the allies and supporters it can get.

The first step to being an ally for the LGBTQ community is recognizing that you want to identify as one. One of the worst things you can do is say you are one and then not follow through. If you’re ready to take on the identity as an LGBTQ ally, here are some ways to follow through.

1. Get Educated

At my college, Montclair State University, we have something called Safe Space Training, a 5 hour training that teaches audiences all about the LGBTQ community and how they can be more accepting and inclusive towards them. It is meant to combat homophobia and make the campus (and outside environments) safer.

While not all colleges have this, there are certainly resources online and in books that can teach you these skills. Not only will this help you, but it will make those around you feel safer, especially those who identity as LGBTQ.

2. Speak UP

The next step is to use those lessons and skills such as responding to gay slurs or microagressions in an active way, as opposed to letting them slide. This is also a chance to educate those around you about things like using inclusive language, meaning language that accepts all identities, and pronouns.

It can be hard to correct people around you, but if you want to be an ally, you should be able to take on the role of being the educator and spreading the word on these issues. There is a line of when to step in and when to let things slide, but that takes practice.

3. Pronouns

You may not have understood when I said pronouns. In case you forgot, a pronoun is the word you chose to go by when someone is not using your name. These are gender-preferred pronouns, which go way beyond the binary of he and she. As you may choose to educate yourself on, some individuals choose to go by the pronouns they, them, theirs, or just their name.

While this is a new concept for many people, it is one that individuals who don’t go by the binary may struggle with because they have to make it aware that they don’t go by he or she. As an active ally, you may get up the courage to introduce yourself with your pronouns so others around feel comfortable enough to share theirs as well. While many people go by the binary, it will make those who don’t appreciate you much more.

4. Social Media

Social media can be a great place to share news out in the world. Along with choosing to comment on people’s language or offensiveness towards the community, it’s a great place to post articles on LGBTQ issues. This can be anything from gay marriage rights or just fun stories on coming out. This can tell others that you support the community and are keeping up on the issues within it.

5. Participate

My college is lucky to be one of few in the state with an LGBTQ Resource Center, but most colleges at least have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or LGBTQ club of some sort. No matter how you identify, try joining in the fall. It can teach you a lot about things like gender roles and really open your eyes to a lot of different identities that you have never even heard of. It’s also a great place to make new friends. Additionally, these organizations often have fun events. My school actually walks in the Pride parade and had two drag queens come visit.

6. Finally, fashion

As with any other community, there’s always ways to show that you are part of it. Shirts that have messages that support LGBTQ equality like this one are a great example. I made this one, which could be a fun activity for you and your friends, or a school organization. Also, there’s pins that are a great touch to a backpack as I do with mine.

As you can see, an LGBTQ ally has a lot of responsibilities. It is an identity that individuals willingly take on, but a very rewarding one. Another important fact about being an LGBTQ ally is that those who identify as LGBTQ can be an ally.

I hope this taught you about being an ally, and that you look into it more, if you chose to. The LGBTQ community is an oppressed group and can really use all the support it can get. Allies can really make a difference and make the world a better place for everyone.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format