With growing opposition and resistance to the current political realities in the US there have been new, inspiring examples of the impact that allies can have when they’re visible, vocal, and present. And that has the Straight for Equality team thinking a lot about what it means to be an ally. To people who are LGBTQ. To women. To people of color. To individuals with disabilities. To anyone whose voice has been marginalized.
With that in mind, we wanted to share a few tips for being a better ally to marginalized communities.
Listen. Do your best to seek out and really learn from the stories of individual’s whose voices are marginalized. And when people share their experiences remember that just because you have not seen something similar does not mean that it isn’t happening. Discussing institutional racism, privilege or micro-aggressions, and other forms of injustice are not a personal attack.
Lean into your discomfort. Great allyship requires us all to learn more about our unconscious biases and understand how they can have an impact on how we behave. And that can be really uncomfortable. Lean into that and avoid any situation that minimizes other people’s experiences or shuts down conversations that may cause discomfort.
Remember your role. There is a time to speak up, to step back, and to create space for marginalized voices to speak for themselves. Whenever you can, amplify and empower those who wish to tell their own stories. With that said, if you’re in a space that – for whatever reason – does not include voices from marginalized communities please speak up when you hear misinformation being shared as fact, generalizations about diverse communities being made, or hateful language being used.
Interested in learning more?
- This piece was inspired, in part, by a fantastic article written in April by Mia Mercado at Bustle titled How To Be A Better Ally To The Minorities In Your Life.
- You can also find a great conversation about being an ally to people and communities of color at the 38 minute mark of our PFLAG Academy Online session “Powerful Partnerships: Making Diversity & Inclusion Successful in PFLAG Chapters.”
- Interested in creating conversation around this topic of being, creating, and engaging allies for marginalized communities? Check out Talking Inclusively and Something to Talk About, two fantastic discussion series from Straight for Equality!