There are many reasons why people become allies to the GLBT community. Some people might wish to support GLBT friends, while others might base their decisions on principles of justice oneself and others. Regardless of the reasons, becoming an ally is a process and this process can be influenced by a number of factors. What follows is a partial list of factors that might discourage or encourage people in becoming allies.
Potential Discouraging Factors:
Others may assume you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. You may receive negative comments from others.
Friends, colleagues, and family may alienate or distance themselves from you.
May experience overt and/or covert discrimination (poor evaluations, denied appointments, little encouragement of ideas, etc.).
You become a potential victim of violence.
GLBT community may have difficulty accepting or trusting you.
Subtle pressure to come out or consider the possibility of a non-heterosexual identity.
May feel out of place in GLBT culture.
Potential Benefits and Encouraging Factors:
Possibility for close relationships with another 10% of the population.
Less bound by sex role stereotypes.
Increase your ability to have close loving relationships with same sex friends.
Opportunities to learn, teach, and impact a population that you might not interact with.
You may help another individual feel that his or her life is worth living.
You may help another individual feel that they have self worth and do not need chemicals or other substances to get through the day.
You may help another individual feel that they matter enough to stay in college.
Adapted from: Evans, N. J., & Wall, V. A. (1991). Beyond tolerance: Gays, lesbians and bisexuals on campus. American College Personnel Association, Alexandria, VA.