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Celebrating Pride: Allyship

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Hello everyone! Welcome to the last post in our Pride series here on the Olalla blog where we're going to unpack what in means to be an ally and how to support the LGBTQIA2S+ community beyond the month of June.

Let’s talk about being an ally!

  • First thing you need to know is it’s not about you and it’s not supposed to be about you or your feelings. Allyship is not glamorous.

  • It’s supposed to be a way of living your life that doesn’t reinforce the same oppressive behaviors you are claiming to be against.

    • No More Allies by Mia McKenzie lists these ways allies can be helpful:

      • Actively listening, so stop talking and listen to how you can be helpful to marginalized folks on their terms. Don’t tell them what they need.

      • Educating yourself and not relying on people from marginalized groups to do the work of educating you. You can ask for resources to look into but asking for education is asking for emotional labor. Do not expect marginalized people to provide emotional labor for you.

      • When it’s time to talk, not talking over the people you claim to be in solidarity with.

      • Accept feedback and criticism about how your “allyship” is causing more harm than good without whitesplaining/mansplaining/whateversplaining.

      • Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

      • Donate & support groups, projects, orgs, etc. run by and for marginalized people so our voices get to be the loudest on the issues that affect us.

What are common missteps that allies make?

  • The LGBTQIA2S+ community has goals similar to other marginalized communities. Queer people are black, disabled, neurodivergent, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Pakistani. We exist everywhere. You cannot separate someone’s queer identity from their other identities. For example, someone can be disabled and queer. Issues affecting them may be different than someone who is not disabled and queer. This concept is called intersectionality and was written down and explained by Kimberle Crenshaw about the experiences of black women.

    • If you’re an ally for LGBTQIA2S+ rights then you have to be an ally against ableism, racism, colorism, transphobia, biphobia, sexism, and other forms of oppression.

  • Don’t assume, ASK!

  • Expecting praise for something you’ve done.

  • Misgendering someone or using their wrong name. Like Danielle Walsh (Mental Health Therapist for Project Bravery) said in last weeks post: Use people’s names and pronouns. If you mess up, apologize briefly, correct yourself, move on. Practice, Practice, Practice! There’s even a fun game:

  • Stealing ideas without crediting where they came from.

  • Thinking you know everything there is to know about being an ally.

    • Allyship is a lifelong journey with many many things to unlearn including ableism, white supremacy, gender roles, and more.

What do I do now?



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