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What It Means To Be An Effective Ally

  • Be Visible!
    • Go to events that support the LGBTQQIA community
    • Display your Safe Zone sticker
  • Be open and supportive
    • Know your comfort level with conversations about sexuality and gender
    • Be accessible and follow-up with people when appropriate
    • If someone comes out to you, be honored and thankful (not surprised or shocked)
    • Understand that coming out is a lifelong process that demands support & celebration
  • Know General Terminology
    • Read up on the vocab we have listed in this packet, but also know people might describe their identity differently than the way you learned (and that’s ok!)
  • Don’t Assume Heterosexuality or gender identity
    • You only know someone’s identity when they tell you
    • Respect how people identify themselves
    • Take a position in support of human rights for LGBTQQIA individuals without first identifying as (“I’m straight, but…”)
  • Use Inclusive language
    • Avoid stereotypes, make it clear that stereotypes don’t represent the entire LGBTQQIA community
    • Say “partner” or “significant other” instead of girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband
    • You can also ask, “are you going out with someone?”
    • Family or parents instead of mom/dad
    • Use 3rd gender pronouns instead of he/she if you’re speaking generally
  • Challenge and confront with care
    • When you hear something homophobic/heterosexist, definitely challenge and confront if you are comfortable and feel safe doing so, but do so in a way that doesn’t threaten the person making the comment
    • Don’t confront or challenge with rage, do it with care
  • Integrate LGBTQQIA content in your work
    • Teach others the importance of outreach
    • This can be through examples or texts in courses, speakers/movies, for programs or images that say “LGBTQQIA included” in publicizing
  • Familiarize yourself with campus and community resources
    • Go to the resources section in this manual for more information
  • Know your Limits
    • Don’t make things up if you don’t know it. Know when you need to refer to someone else. Being an ally doesn’t mean you have to know everything!
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