Setting up a GSA

Becoming an Ally

  1. Use the words bisexual, lesbian, transgender and gay often. Use them in conversations with bisexuals, lesbians and gays (it will make us feel less invisible), use them in front of other progressive people (it will teach them to use these words), and use them in front of people who you imagine will drop dead when they hear them (it's time they got used to it).
  2. Think about your own sexuality. Examine how you became heterosexual – because there's as much or as little "cause" for that as there is "cause" for anyone being gay, lesbian or bisexual. Much homophobia is rooted in people's discomfort with their own feelings for people of the same sex. Get past that and you'll be emotionally ready to be an ally.
  3. Don't always claim heterosexual privilege by making it clear you are straight. Try casting doubt in people's minds about your own sexual orientation every once in a while. Make it clear that it would be no insult to mistake you for a lesbian, gay or bisexual. Refer to past relationships with same gender, if you've had any. Refer to gay, bisexual and lesbian friends (using their names only if they're comfortable with that). Talk about how any issue under discussion might affect lesbians, bisexuals or gays. If all of this starts people asking you point blank if you are gay, bisexual or lesbian, think of creative answers that teach people understanding.
  4. Don't assume anyone is exclusively heterosexual. Use inclusive language if you are asking people whether they have any new romantic interests. If they get offended by your question, help them to look at why they consider your question an insult. If your friends are in fact gay, bisexual or lesbian, your choice of words will be a sign to them that you are someone they can talk to.
  5. Remember that we're as diverse as you are. We wear Levi's and we wear pearls. We come in every shape, size, (dis)ability, race, colour and age. We are rich and we are poor. We speak every language.
  6. Don't require that your lesbian, gay and bisexual friends behave or look like heterosexuals in order to be accepted in your social circle or organization. Welcome the flaming queen or the butch lesbian. For some of us our appearance is part of our culture and a strategy to affirm our right to be whoever we are.
  7. Teach your children a range of sexualities and support sex education which teaches children a range of sexualities in schools; reinforce that all sexualities are good and "normal".
  8. Borrow or buy Queer positive books for the kids in your life.
  9. Change the names in the stories that you tell to kids in order to challenge the ever-present heterosexual content of the stories.
  10. Do not say "what a waste" when you find out that an attractive person of the same gender is gay or lesbian.
  11. Support & celebrate your daughter or son if they come out to you. Don't be sad for them. Coming out is a sign of personal integration and strength.
  12. Do not vote for political parties/politicians that do not support Human Rights for Lesbians & Gays.
  13. Write letters to support positive legislative change and write letters to condemn homophobic legislative change.