How to be an Ally
How to be an Ally to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning People
- Use the words gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer instead of homosexual. The overwhelming majority of LGBTQ people do not identify with or use the word homosexual to describe themselves. Use whatever word someone uses to identify themselves.
- Use non-gender specific language. Ask ‘Are you seeing someone?’ or ‘Are you in a relationship?’ Instead of ‘Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?’ Use the word partner or significant other instead of boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.
- Do not assume the sexual orientation of another person even when that person is married or in a committed relationship. Many bisexuals, and even some gay men and lesbians, are in heterosexual relationships.
- Don’t assume that someone who is transgender is gay or that the person will seek therapy in an attempt to become heterosexual.
- Do not assume that every gay, lesbian, or bisexual person is attracted to you.
- Challenge your own conceptions about gender-appropriate roles and behaviors. Do not expect people to conform to society’s beliefs about women and men.
- Speak out against statements and jokes that attack LGBTQ people. Letting others know that you find anti-LGBTQ statements and jokes offensive and unacceptable can go a long way toward reducing homophobia.
- Educate yourself about LGBTQ history, culture, and concerns. Read LGBTQ publications, and support the businesses that advertise in them. See movies by and about LGBTQ individuals. Attend campus events relating to LGBTQ issues.
- Raise LGBTQ issues, concerns, and experiences in your family, workplace, school, religious community, and neighborhood.
- Educate children about families that have two moms or two dads.
- Establish an LGBTQ welcoming committee in your faith community.
- Support and involve yourself in LGBTQ organizations. Write letters to your political representatives asking them to support legislation that positively affects LGBTQ people.