Last Updated May 1, 2021
To break down what it means to be an ally, we asked six people in the LGBTQ+ community. Here’s what they had to share:
“It’s about education and support. Even though same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, discrimination still exists, in legislation and elsewhere. Do some research and talk to people within the community and you’ll understand the importance of allies and how to go about being one.”
“Being an ally is all about knowing the importance of making space for LGBTQQIA+ people to be seen and heard. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t make room for people who represent a “subculture”, so true allyship is about incorporating that truth as often as possible. You don’t have to fully understand everything that goes into queer identity and experience. Ally’s wont know the full experience of being queer, but they do create room in every space for queer people to speak their truth. We get so frustrated when we can’t understand something, but if you listen and allow voices that aren’t just straight, white, and cis-gendered to vocalize their experiences you can learn something. Be empathetic, not sympathetic. Don’t just feel bad for people who are dealing with constant discrimination, allow those people to feel respected and heard. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying, “I can’t even imagine what that would be like but I’m here for you and love you.” Also, allies don’t speak or make statements in place of queer people. Allies relay the words of queer people. That means all the time, not just when it’s convenient.”
“Someone who makes a conscious effort to be empathetic to those different from themselves. Not only recognizing the problematic systems in place, an ally also attempts to not perpetuate and (ideally) actively change those systems.”
“An ally is someone who provides physical, mental, and emotional support for someone who is different.”
“Being an ally means understanding your privilege as a straight person, and using it in a positive way to help our community. Stand up for those who are being judged. Make it clear to your friends and family that offensive language about the LGBTQ+ community won’t be taken lightly. It’s an everyday thing, to be an ally. Every. Single. Day.”
"Being an ally is not only accepting people for who they are, but showing respect and consideration for the LGBTQA+ community in straight spaces. It means that when you witness homophobic remarks, having the courage to correct this behavior and advocate for our population, even if no queer people are there to witness it."
If you or someone you know is looking for LGBTQ+ therapy resources, we’re here to help. There are therapists in the SonderMind network who specialize in LGBTQ+ therapy and are passionate about helping the queer community thrive. Don’t wait, get the mental health care you deserve.