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Questions and Answers

Straight Ally: How Can I Be an Ally to LGBTQ People?

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A straight ally is a someone who supports equal rights for LGBTQ people, even though they’re straight and cisgender (identify as the gender people gave them at birth). This non-LGBTQ person supports LGBTQ people in their daily life, with friends, and politically.

Straight ally basics

  • Treat all people like people!
  • Listen. Be open minded, and ready to talk
    • Being an ally is about listening to as many different experiences as you can. Listening to a people who are LGBTQ can help you understand what’s important to different groups.
    • Listening is one of the most important parts in being an ally
  • Reflect on the reasons you may stay away from certain groups or people. What ideas do you have about these groups? Where did you learn these ideas? Do they come from your personal experience?
    • If some of the ideas you have are negative, you can think about why and how these ideas stick around in society.
    • Knowing, thinking and challenging our ideas of others is the best way to start. Doing this can help avoid hurting people by mistake.
    • You can also try to understand why some things might make you feel uncomfortable. This will help you see where some of your ideas may have come from.

Supporting transgender people

  • Use pronouns people want you to use! Some people might prefer that people use she, he, they, or another pronoun when you talk about them. This is tricky because it’s not always clear what pronoun someone would prefer just by looking at them. If you’re not sure what pronoun someone would like, ask them!
    • It also helps to correct people when they use the wrong pronouns to talk about someone, even when no one else is around.
    • You can also teach people who don’t understand why pronouns are important to LGBTQ people.
    • It’s also helps if you challenge people when they make assumptions or purposefully use hurtful words or wrong pronouns.

When LGBTQ people might not be around

  • If you start to assume that not everyone you meet is straight and cisgender  this will help a lot! This can help give people the space they need to be open about themselves.
    • Not assuming people are either gay or straight is also important. A lot of people are interested in more than one gender, or are asexual and not sexual attracted to anyone!
  • Help take action to create safer spaces for LGBTQ people, where they feel heard, supported and understood. These spaces give LGBTQ people help against bullying and discrimination.
    • Talking to other straight people about LGBTQ issues can help make spaces safer. For example, telling someone about someone’s preferred pronouns, or when something they is homophobic.
  • Educate yourself! It always helps to learn and listen and understand the issues the LGBT groups face. This way people won’t need to explain things that might be hard for them to talk about.

Remember being an ally is not a status. It is the action of constantly supporting LGBTQ people in all parts of your life. Also, know it’s ok to make mistakes. But, it’s important to listen when people say you’ve done something wrong. You can still support them by taking responsibility and trying to change things next time.

What makes a bad ally?

  • Staying silent when people make “gay” jokes. Remember that it’s really hard for someone who is gay to stand up to these jokes. You can help by pointing out when jokes are offensive and harmful, and it’s much easier for you!
  • Assuming people who are LGBTQIA+ will teach you. You can teach yourself and learn things online without adding stress to people’s lives. You can even text us!
  • Talking over for someone from the LGBTQ community.  It’s really important to respect everyone’s personal experience. No matter how much you’ve read or heard, and this can be a great way to learn more!

Want to learn more? Check out our resources below for learn more information.

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