Being an Ally
Benefits of being an Ally
- You open yourself up to the possibility of close relationships with an additional 10% of the world.
- You become less locked into sex role stereotypes.
- You increase your ability to have a close loving relationships with same-sex friends.
- You find security in your own sexuality.
- You develop a stronger sense of self-worth.
- You have opportunities to learn from, teach and have an impact on a population with whom you might not otherwise interact.
- You may be the reason your son, daughter, sister, brother, minister, lawyer, teacher, mother or father finally decides that her/his life is worth something and that she/he does not need to depend on chemicals or other substances to get through the day.
- You may make the difference in the lives of individuals who hear you confront anti-gay or anti-lesbian epithets that make them feel as if they want to drop out of junior high, high school or college. As a result of your actions, they know that they have a friend to turn to.
- You and your support may be the factor that keeps someone who is GLBTQ from ending her/his life because of the oppression and depression surrounding her/his life and sexuality.
Source: Washington, J. & Evans, N.J. (1991). Becoming an Ally. In N.J. Evans & V.A. Wall (Eds.), Beyond Tolerance: Gays, lesbian and bisexuals on campus (pp 203). Alexandria, VA: American College Personnel Association.
Some Qualities of an Effective Ally
- Has worked to understand the history, culture, feelings, struggles, pride & needs of GLBTQ students.
- Listens to members of the GLBTQ community and respects their experiences as truth.
- Chooses to align with people who are different and responds to their needs.
- Believes that it is in her/his self-interest to be an ally.
- Is committed to the personal growth required.
- Is quick to take pride and appreciate success.
- Expects support from other allies.
- Is able to acknowledge and articulate how patterns of oppression have operated in his/her life.
- Expects to make some mistakes but does not use it as an excuse for non-action.
- Knows that both sides of an ally relationship have a clear responsibility for their own change whether or not persons on the other side chose to respond.
- Knows that in most empowered ally relationships, it is the ally who initiates the change towards personal, institutional and societal justice and equality.
- Knows that she/he is responsible for humanizing or empowering her/hes role in society, particularly as her/his roles relates to responding to people who are different.
- Promotes a sense of community within the campus community and teaches others about the importance of outreach.
- Has a good sense of humor and uses it appropriately.
- Spends time immersed in the communities with which he/she is allied.
- Is comfortable enough with her/his own identity as to not let it interfere with being an ally.
- Resists temptation to group people together based upon individual traits.
Source: Adapted from Shawn – Eric Brooks and Vemon Wall, 1990
Throughout the year, the staff of the Student Involvement & Leadership Office hosts Ally Training, targeted towards UND students wanting to be more educated about how to be an ally. See the events tab for more information about upcoming sessions.