Cheat Sheet For New Allies of the LGBTQI Community
Being an Ally can be a wonderful growth experience, but we want to acknowledge that it can be overwhelming. Oftentimes we are worried about saying or doing the wrong thing when we mean well. We here at Lehman Pride have provided a cheat sheet for new allies.
- Don’t expect to know everything right away. Even members of the LGBTQI community learn new things so don’t expect to know everything there is to know about the LGBTQI experience.
- Don’t expect your LGBTQI friends to have all of the answers.
- Don’t make statements that convey conditional acceptance (I.e. “You don’t look gay, so we can be friends” or “No one can tell you are trans, so we can hang out.”). Either you are an ally or you are not.
- Do not tokenize or stereotype LGBTQI people. (I.e. Don’t introduce someone as your “gay friend,” don’t assume all gay men like to go shopping, don’t assume all lesbians hate men, don’t assume all trans people want surgery etc.)
- Do not try to force people to come out even if you mean well. This is a personal process and should not be forced by anyone.
- You may be honored that someone came out to you, but do not out them without their permission. You may not know where they are in their coming out process.
- If you are not sure what someone’s gender identity is, do not assign one to them. Let that person tell you who they are.
- Whatever pronoun someone chooses to use, honor that and use that pronoun when referring to that person (He/him, she/her, They).
- If someone uses a gender neutral pronoun, honor that and use that pronoun when referring to that person (Ze, They).
- Do not ask people of the trans experience about surgery. Surgery is NOT a requirement for identifying as a trans person.
- Sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing. Sexual orientation is about who you are attracted to. Gender identity is how you view yourself.