As we all start to understand more about gender and sexuality, along with the different ways people worldwide choose to identify, it is important to understand precisely what an LGBTQIA+ ally is and how we can all become one.
What is an LGBTQIA+ ally?
Simply put, a gay or LGBTQIA+ ally is someone who supports and respects members of the LGBTQIA+ community. LGBTQIA+ people are everywhere in society.
They are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. If you are a “gay ally”, you support those close to you and the wider community.
Many LGBTQIA+ allies find a way to show that they will provide a safe space to the community.
This includes gestures such as putting it in their social media bio, mentioning their ally status in conversation or expressing solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
What does an LGBTQIA+ ally do?
An LGBTQIA+ ally is anyone who is supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community on a personal or wider level.
This person will stand up for equal rights and fair treatment, educating themselves and others on the issues faced by the community.
Allies are some of the most effective and influential people in the movement, and they play an important role in the continuation and promotion of LGBTQIA+ rights across the world.
An ally might help their family member or friend in the coming-out process, supporting their loved one and continuing to stick by their side through the whole process.
Anyone can be an ally. They help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect.
An LGBTQIA+ ally will aim to challenge assumptions and stereotypes, offering friendship and helping to educate others.
Straight allies are typically referred to as “straight” because they are heterosexual. They can be male or female, and transgender people may also become straight allies.
Gay allies often refer to themselves using the same label they use for themselves.
Why is it so important to be an LGBTQIA+ ally?
People in the LGBTQIA+ community face discrimination every day, and they often need support outside the LGBTQIA+ community.
From issues such as coming out to work discrimination, LGBTQIA+ people need to know they can rely on those in wider society to fight for their struggles.
An ally will speak out against anti-gay discrimination and violence, whether it takes place in the workplace, at school or at home.
It is important to be an LGBTQIA+ ally to ensure community members have a positive coming out experience. Someone who is gay may not feel comfortable talking about their sexual orientation with
certain family members, friends or co-workers.
They may also not be comfortable sharing their experiences and do not want to discuss homosexuality constantly. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may have mixed emotions about being gay or feel completely isolated and alone.
Whatever they feel and need, an ally supports and respects the gay community entirely.
Even though we have come a long way in recent years, we still have a long way to go until everyone in society has equal rights in all aspects of their life.
It does not take a lot to become a “gay ally”, but it could mean that the LGBTQIA+ person in your life comes out feeling loved and respected instead of isolated and ashamed.
The role of an ally can be anything. It can be as much as volunteering for a Pride organisation or simply listening while your friend tells you about their struggles. One day, everyone will be an LGBTQIA+ ally, respecting the community.
Until then, choose to support the LGBTQIA+ people in your life, your community, and worldwide by educating yourself and others.