Pros and Cons of Being an Ally
Some benefits of being an ally to LGBTQ people:
- Learn more accurate information about the reality of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
- Open yourself up to the possibility of close relationships with a wider range of people.
- Become less locked into gender role expectations and stereotypes.
- Increase your ability to have close relationships with same gender friends.
- The opportunities to learn from, teach, and have an impact on a population with whom you might not have otherwise interacted.
- Empower yourself to take an active role in creating a more accepting world by countering prejudice and discrimination with understanding, support, and caring.
- May be a role model for others and your actions may help someone else gain the courage to speak and act in support of LGBTQ people.
- You may be the reason a friend, sibling, child, coworker, or someone else you know finds greater value in their life and develops a higher level of self-esteem.
- You may make a difference in the lives of young people who hear you confront derogatory language or speak supportively of LGBTQ people. As a result of your action, they may feel that they have a friend to turn to instead of dropping out of school, using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain and loneliness, or contemplating or attempting suicide.
Some risks of being an ally to LGBTQ people (things that discourage some people from becoming allies)
- Others may speculate about your own sexual orientation or gender identity. You may be labeled as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender ―by association, which you might find uncomfortable.
- You may be criticized or ridiculed by others who do not agree with you or who consider offering support to LGBTQ people to be unimportant or unwarranted.
- You may experience alienation from friends, family members, or colleagues who are not comfortable with LGBTQ issues.
- You may become the target of overt or subtle discrimination by people who are homophobic.
- Your values, morality, and personal character may be questioned by people who believe that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is wrong, sinful, or against their family values.
- Some LGBTQ people may believe that you are actually LGBTQ but are not ready to admit it.
- Due to past negative experiences, some LGBTQ people may not trust you and may question your motivations.