What Makes A Good Ally: The Queer Perspective
A term that is often mentioned in connection to the LGBTQ+ community is “ally,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “to unite or form a connection or relation between.” To the queer community, people who are cisgendered, heterosexual, and support LGBTQ+ rights are usually considered allies to the community. This isn’t exactly right, though. In reality, anyone can be an ally to a minority group, even other minorities. For instance, a cisgendered person can be an ally to the trans community by supporting trans individuals and educating themselves and others about issues that are specific to that community. For the sake of this article, I’ll broaden ally to mean someone who supports the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
The role of allies is somewhat up for debate. The question often asked is: what do people have to do to be considered an ally? Do they just have to support same-sex marriage, or is that not enough? Everyone seems to have a different opinion about this, so I reached out to my LGBTQ+ friends to find out their thoughts on ally-ship. As LGBTQ+ individuals, allies affect them directly, so it seemed like a good idea to ask what role they think an ally should serve in connection to the LGBTQ+ community.
The question I asked was this: “What makes a good ally to the queer community, in your opinion?” And my friends did not disappoint. I got so many unique responses from almost every part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum — lesbian, gay, bisexual, ace, and non-binary. Each and every one had some idea of what they need from allies, and every idea was beautifully expressed.
As you can see, being an ally requires a little more than just supporting same-sex marriage. It’s about recognizing your privilege and using it to help those less privileged than you, educating yourself, asking questions, and apologizing when you make mistakes.
We need allies to help us take steps towards full equality, and we need allies to understand the obstacles we face every day.
PFLAG National has a program called Straight for Equality, which is “designed to invite, educate, and engage straight allies” who stand behind LGBTQ+ individuals and causes. They even provide definitions to help people determine what kind of ally they are and suggest options for what they can do to increase/improve their allyship.
Have your own ideas about what a good ally is? Feel free to comment below or share on social media! We love to know what our readers have to say, and we’re always ready to listen.
Originally published at TravelPRIDE.