#AllyWeek: How to Be a Better Ally

This week marks Ally Week, which is an opportunity to amplify the conversation about how to be a better ally to LGBTQ youth.

Ally Week is organized by GLSEN, which describes allyship as being “about more than broadly supporting LGBTQ people; it’s an active, ongoing process of advocating for LGBTQ youth (and other marginalized groups) without speaking for them or over them. During #AllyWeek, we challenge one another to think critically about what allyship means, how we are allies to others, and what kind of allies we seek out for ourselves.”

An ally is a term used to describe someone who is supportive of LGBTQ people. It encompasses non-LGBTQ allies as well as those within the LGBTQ community who support each other, e.g. a lesbian who is an ally to the bisexual community.

Ally Week focuses on LGBTQ youth, who are subject to pervasive discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation and violence. According to Growing Up LGBT In America, HRC Foundation’s 2012 survey of more than 10,000 LGBTQ young people, LGBTQ youth in the U.S. still face unique challenges. Only half of LGBTQ youth surveyed say that they “fit in” in their community; LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to be verbally harassed at school; and 63 percent of LGBTQ youth say they will need to move to another part of the country to feel accepted.

GLSEN offers an action plan for how to be a better ally, and offers a guide for educators who are looking to support students during Ally Week.

HRC also has resources on how allies can help make the world more understanding and supportive for the LGBTQ community. Don’t miss out on An Ally’s Guide to Issues Facing LGBTQ Americans, Coming Out as a Supporter, and more.