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How To Be A LGBTQIA+ Ally
How To Be A LGBTQIA+ Ally
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How To Be A LGBTQIA+ Ally

An ally is someone who is heterosexual that supports and stands up for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Ever wondered how you could support LGBT friends and loved ones? Here are a few ways that you can be an ally:

 

Let your LGBTQ loved ones know that you are there to listen if they need to talk. If your LGBT friend or loved one chooses to share private and personal information about their feelings or identity, it is important to keep this information confidential. However, if a person tells you that they are going to hurt themselves or someone else, you should be sure to tell a trusted adult because that information is too serious to keep secret, even if they ask you to. By letting your LGBT friends and loved ones know that you are there to listen and support them, you are acting as an ally.

 

Stand up to bullying or harassing behavior. Sometimes you may notice an LGBT friend being picked on or bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Or maybe you hear hateful words, jokes or remarks aimed at your friend because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This is not okay. If you hear others saying mean things, you might say something like this: “It really makes me uncomfortable when you say negative things about LGBTQ people. What you’re saying is hurtful and insulting to them and to me because there are LGBTQ people that I care about. I would really appreciate it if you would stop.” If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up, tell an adult who can address the situation right away. Standing against homophobic and transphobic behavior through your words and actions is another way you can be an ally to LGBT people.

 

Join or start a genders and sexualities alliance (GSA) at your school. Getting involved with LGBT organizations or causes is another way to be an ally to your LGBT friends and loved ones. You may decide to join a GSA at your school. GSAs are student-run organizations that work to improve schools for all students regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Visit the GSA Network to learn how you can start a GSA at your school.

FAQs

What is homophobia?

“Homophobia” refers to a fear, hatred or prejudice toward people who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay or another sexual orientation that is not strictly heterosexual.

What is transphobia?

“Transphobia” refers to a fear, hatred or prejudice toward people who are transgender or nonbinary, meaning they do not identify or present their gender in a way that is entirely feminine or entirely masculine.

What do you do if you’re bullied for being an ally?

If you are bullied for being an ally to an LGBT person, notify an adult immediately. This person could be a parent, caregiver, teacher or other trusted adult. Keep speaking up until an adult responds. Adults can put a stop to bullying when they respond quickly and consistently to bullying and make it clear that bullying is not okay. If bullying is a problem at your school, speak with your parents and caregivers about having school administration and teachers come up with a plan to create a safe and welcoming school environment for all students.

Adolescence can be an exciting and challenging time when both young people’s bodies and minds are going through lots of changes. Having at least one trusted adult they can talk to about sensitive topics, such as puberty, their feelings and growing up, really helps. Trusted adults can be parents, grandparents, other relatives, caregivers, teachers or coaches. Even a young person’s friends’ parents can provide advice, answer difficult questions, share their values and/or faith traditions. Regardless of who a trusted adult is, what matters is that this person provide the support a young person needs and deserves. This is especially true for young people facing additional physical, emotional or social challenges.

Young people can feel awkward and nervous about talking with adults, especially if they know adults are going to judge or lecture them. While an adult may want to do all of the talking and tell a young person how to feel and what to think, this is a sure way to have a young person withdraw. An adult who listens to what young people have to say and respects their experiences and perspectives will earn their trust. If a young person does not feel judged, that young person is more likely to be honest with an adult and seek out help if they get into trouble, feel uncomfortable at a party or need help handling a tough situation.

 

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Effective communication is the foundation of healthy relationships, and this is true for relationships between young people and their parents, caregivers or other trusted adults. As a parent or trusted adult, you can help your child or another young person practice good communication skills by demonstrating healthy communication skills in your conversations with them and being a supportive listener when a young person needs help.

The easiest way to start conversations about communication is to talk about it as it comes up in everyday life, like while watching a show or movie together.

Here are some ways to start these conversations:

If you are watching a show or movie where a young person and a trusted adult are displaying positive communication and a safe and supportive relationship, you can ask your child whether they feel like they have that type of relationship with you or another trusted adult.

If you notice that your child is having a bad day or feeling down, remind them that you are there for them if and when they feel ready to talk about what is going on. This opens the door to communication and shows that you are available and willing to be a good listener.