GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, has identified September 26-30 as "Ally Week," which provides an opportunity to form a national dialogue regarding the ways that everyone — in and out of school — can work to become better allies to LGBT youth.
According to the GLSEN website, "allyship is about more than supporting equal rights for marginalized groups; it's about advocating for those groups, uplifting their voices, and reflecting constantly on the powerful intersections of identity, privilege and justice."
The following is a list, provided by GLSEN, of ways each one of us can take action this week in support of LGBT youth.
- Make a personal and intentional vow to explore what it means to become an ally to LGBT identified youth.
- Intervene when you hear anti-LGBT language or remarks.
- Ask your Congressperson to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
- Use "I" statements: In conversations about LGBT issues and allyship, be conscious of your privilege and speak from your own experiences, rather than presuming the experiences of LGBT students and others.
- Read essays and articles written by LGBT people about LGBT issues.
- Ask your LGBT friends (respectfully!) about their experiences and how you can be an ally to them.
- Similarly, practice having conversations about LGBT issues without demanding personal information from others. Never assume a person's identity based on how they look, who they do or do not spend time with, or what others say about them. Only that person can tell you how they identify, and on their own time and terms.
See GLSEN.org/allyweek/betterallies for additional ways to support LGBT youth this week with your GSA, and if you're an educator. Also included are tips to being a better ally to trans & gender nonconforming youth, LGBT youth of color, and youth with different abilities.