Don't get us wrong—the goal is that one day we won't need to talk about the need for allies, equality and inclusion will rule, and none of this will be relevant. (At PFLAG National, we joke that our job is to do such a good job at achieving equality and inclusion that we’ll be able to put ourselves out of business.) But for now, it is relevant.
Consider this: As of this writing, roughly 50% of people who are LGBTQ+ are not out in their workplaces. Majorities of LGBTQ+ Americans say that they’ve experienced discrimination in their personal lives, in places like the workplace, housing, and education. Among LGBTQ+ youth in schools, nearly 60% say that they feel unsafe in their schools simply because of their sexual orientation, while almost 45% say they feel unsafe because of their gender expression.
In order to have a positive impact on these jarring statistics, we need to have a spectrum of diverse voices expressing their support for equality and inclusion—and that includes people who are not members of the LGBTQ+ community. Allies have a unique power to send the message that inclusion and equality aren’t just things that people in the group affected want (in other words, people who are LGBTQ+), but something that everyone wants. And in order to make that unique, “It’s not about me, but it really is about me” statement, talking about our background as someone who isn’t LGBTQ+, but owns this issue is often necessary.
By now, you’ve hopefully started taking a bit of an ally journey of your own. Maybe you’re rethinking how you personally understand the term “ally.” Maybe you’ve even started thinking about what some of your barriers might be to becoming an out and proud ally. If you’ve thought about these things—or thinking about them now—we’re on the right track. Why not get started by visiting the Ally Spectrum?
If you know which program you are interested in, or need more information about what would work best for your community we’re here to help.