What is an ally?
Being an ally is about working to develop a true understanding of what it means to be LGBTI, and standing up when you see injustice. The job of an ally is to help break down the walls of prejudice and discrimination that still hold back our community. An ally is more than just someone who treats LGBTI people with respect: they go the extra mile to stand with the LGBTI community and fight against the fear, hatred, or discomfort that can be levelled against rainbow people.
For a lot of people, learning that someone they care about is LGBTI can open a range of emotions. It may be difficult to know how to respond in the best way that shows your support for them. You might second guess yourself, wondering if you’re asking the right questions.
Be honest: it is important to be honest with yourself by acknowledging your feelings. Be honest with the person who came out to you and know that you aren’t expected to be an expert. Ask them what’s important to them and give them your support. Take steps to understand the realities that LGBTI individuals live in.
Send gentle signals: sharing your acceptance and showing your support can be very easy. Many people often don’t realise that LGBTI people watch for signs from their friends, family and acquaintances about whether it is safe to be open with them. It can be as subtle as bringing up stories concerning LGBTI people in your life or having an LGBTI themed book on your coffee table.
Have courage: just as it takes courage for LGBTI people to be open and honest about who they are, it also takes courage to support your LGBTI customers, clients, friends or loved ones. We live in a society where prejudice still exists and where discrimination is still far too common. Recognising these facts and giving your support to that person will take your relationship to a higher level and is a small step toward a better and more accepting world.
Be reassuring: explain to someone who has come out to you that it doesn’t change your relationship, but it might take some time for you to understand what they have told you. You still care for and respect them. You want to do right by them. Welcoming them with open arms is a definitive way to reassure them. Listening to them when they inform you of a mistaken word or phrase will mean a great deal.
Be willing to learn: if you make a mistake, apologise and follow up. Learn from the issue and seek further education. Ask the person for their input of even google search where you went wrong.
Wimmera Pride Parents
Wimmera Pride Parents is a group formed by the request of LGBTI parents to support each other in a casual social setting. The group has a closed Facebook page where information can be shared in a safe space. Information is tailored to the specific needs and wants brought up in conversation. If you would like to learn more about the Wimmera Pride Parents support group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.