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Handouts and Information

What is an Ally? | Developing a Common Language | Gay and Lesbian Identity Development | Heterosexual Questionaire
Heterosexual Privilege | Trans Definitions | Overview of the Transgender World
The Intersexed Condition | What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality | Choosing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual-Affirming Therapist


Becoming an Ally

What is an ALLY?

  • “A person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population,[1] ”namely, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.  
  • An ALLY for persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) is most often a heterosexual person who works as an advocate for GLBT people and GLBT issues in their personal an professional life.

What Does an ALLY Do?

  • Commits him or herself to personal growth in the area of GLBT awareness in spite of discomfort
  • Is willing to confront his or her own prejudices, stereotypes and misunderstandings
  • Believes that all persons regardless of age, sex, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect
  • Engages in and is committed to developing a climate (e.g., on campus, at home, at work) that is free of hate and oppression toward GLBT individuals, and free from homophobia and heterosexism
  • Recognizes the legal, political, and financial power & privilege that heterosexual persons have that GLBT persons are denied
  • Supports the Ally program at his or her university or place of work
  • Practices acceptance, support and inclusiveness of GLBT persons
  • Is willing to be an advocate for GLBT persons and GLBT issues
  • Is willing to avoid making a point of being heterosexual
  • Is aware of & comfortable with his or her own sexual orientation & the development of that orientation
  • Understands the coming out process
  • Understands the concepts of internalized homophobia and oppression
  • Understands that there is great diversity within the GLBT community as with any other group

There are four basic levels to becoming an ALLY (Washington & Evans, 1991) …

  1. Awareness:   This involves becoming aware of who you are, and how you are different from and similar to GLBT persons.  This is accomplished through self-examination, talking with GLBT persons, attending GLBT related events, reading material that is inclusive of GLBT lifestyles, etc.
  2. Knowledge/ Education:  Understanding and knowledge regarding the experiences of GLBT persons in your community, state and nation.  Understanding the laws and policies that affect GLBT persons, and the history of those laws and policies.  Educating yourself about the GLBT community in your area and around the country.  Contacting and being aware of GLBT groups, organizations and other resources in your community & around the country.
  3. Skills: This involves developing skills you need to communicate your awareness and knowledge as an advocate.  You can gain these skills through attending workshops & other ALLY training events, practicing awareness-raising in safe settings (e.g., with supportive friends & colleagues).
  4. Action:  The most important, & scariest level.  This step involves taking what you know, and what you have learned & feel strongly about concerning GLBT issues and helping to cause change in our society.   

The Student Counseling Center; 201 Student Wellness Center; 742-3674


  • Some Information in this handout taken from the Human Rights Campaign brochure on “Establishing an Allies Program on Campus or in the Workplace.”
  • [1] Washington, J. and Evans, N.J.  (1991).  “Becoming an Ally.”  In N.J. Evans and V.A. Wall, eds., Beyond Tolerance:  Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals on Campus.  Alexandria, VA:  American College Personnel Association.