SOME RISKS OF BEING AN ALLY:
- Others may speculate about your own sexual orientation or gender identity. You may be labeled as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (“by association”). This may be uncomfortable for you.
- You may become the subject of gossip or rumors. You may be criticized or ridiculed by others who do not agree with you or who view the issue as unimportant or unpopular.
- You may experience alienation from friends or colleagues who are not comfortable with the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity. These people may distance themselves from you in order to avoid conflict or labels.
- Your values, your morality, and your personal character may be questioned by people who believe homosexuality is wrong, sinful, against family values, etc.
- You may become the target of overt or subtle discrimination, such as being excluded from certain activities or a negative reflection on an employee evaluation.
- People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not accept you right away. Due to some past negative experiences with heterosexuals/cisgenders, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not trust you and may question your motivation.
SOME BENEFITS OF BEING AN ALLY:
- You learn more accurate information about the reality of being part of the LGBTQ population.
- You learn more about how values and beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity impact your own and others’ lives.
- You open yourself up to the possibility of closer relationships with a wider range of people. You increase your ability to have close relationships with same-sex friends.
- You become less locked into gender roles, gender expectations, and stereotypes.
- You have opportunities to learn from, teach, and have impact on an often marginalized population, which you may not have otherwise interacted with.
- You empower yourself to take an active role in creating a more accepting world by countering prejudice and discrimination with understanding, support, and caring.
- You may be a role model for others. Your actions may influence others and help them find the inner resources to speak and act in support of this population.
- You may have opportunities to share with others what you have learned, and have a positive impact on the climate in your school or workplace or the attitudes of your family or friends.
- You may make a difference in the lives of young people who hear you confront derogatory language or speak supportively of this population. As a result of your action, they may feel they have a friend instead of turning to alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms, including suicide.