An ally to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) community is any person who affirms the experiences and rights of LGBT People. Allies make a conscious effort to fight heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
Any person, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, can be an LGBT Ally. Allies are a key part of the work of the Resource Center and help us extend our reach beyond our grasp.
In relation to issues of oppression, an ally is defined as “a person who is a member of the ‘dominant’ or ‘majority’ group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate with and for, the oppressed population.” The following are four basic levels of ally development and are related specifically to becoming and ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons.
Awareness is the first level. It is important to become more aware of who you are and how you are different from and similar to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Such awareness can be gained through conversations with LGBTQ individuals, attending awarenessbuilding workshops, reading about LGBT culture, and by selfexamination.
Knowledge/education is the second level. You must begin to acquire knowledge about sexual orientation and what the experience is for LGBT people in this country. This step includes learning about laws, policies and practices and how they affect LGBT persons in addition to educating yourself about LGBT culture and the norms of this community.
Skills make up the third level. This area is the one in which people often fall short because of fear or lack of resources or support. You must develop skills in communicating the knowledge that you have learned. These skills can be acquired through attending workshops, role playing situations with friends, developing support connections, and practicing interventions or awareness training in safe settings. An example may include confronting a student after hearing them tell a homophobic joke.
Action is the last but most important level. This is the most frightening step. There are many challenges and liabilities for heterosexuals in taking actions to end oppression of LGBT people. However, action is, without a doubt, the only way that we can affect change in the society as a whole; for, if we keep our awareness, knowledge, and skills to ourselves, we deprive the rest of the world of what we have learned, thus keeping them from having the fullest possible life.
There are many opportunities to learn how to be a better ally on campus as well as in your community. As part of our mission to create and maintain a safe campus environment, we have created a continnually-growing list of Allies On Campus. To be included in this list you must first participate in our Project Safe Training. After completing the training, you will be offered the opportunity to be included on our Allies list and will recieve the Blue Devil Project Safe logo to hang on the door or window of your office, identifying you as a campus ally.