The Ally Team is a network of self-identified faculty, staff, and administrators who work to facilitate the development of students and colleagues around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Allies seek to improve the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual students and colleagues at Parkland College. Members of the Ally Team support and actively realize these goals in a variety of ways: providing information, raising awareness, engaging in political and social advocacy, and through personal example. The Ally Team strives to examine and address the obstacles presented by homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and gender stereotyping to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities and to the heterosexual community alike.
When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
– Audre Lorde
What is an Ally?
In the most general sense, an "Ally" is a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in their personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population. Allies to racial, religious and ethnic minorities have been remarkably effective in promoting positive change in the dominant culture, and only recently has their instrumental position been extended to the area of sexual orientation. Parkland College allies strive to make the culture of our campus or workplace more aware and accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual individuals.
An Ally strives to...
- be a friend
- be a listener
- be open-minded
- have their own opinions
- be willing to talk
- recognize their personal boundaries
- join others with a common purpose
- believe that all persons regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression should be treated with dignity and respect
- recognize when to refer an individual to additional resources
- confront their own prejudices
- engage in the process of developing a culture free of homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism
- recognize their mistakes, but not use them as an excuse for inaction
- be responsible for empowering their role in a community, particularly as it relates to responding to homophobia or transphobia
- recognize the legal powers and privileges that cisgender straight people have and which LGBTQIA+ people are denied
- support the Ally program of their campus or workplace
- commit themselves to personal growth in spite of the discomfort it may sometimes cause
As important as it is to define what an Ally is in a positive sense, it is also helpful to understand the boundaries of an Ally's role.
An Ally is not...
- someone with ready-made answers
- necessarily a counselor, nor are they necessarily trained to deal with crisis situations
- expected to proceed with an interaction if levels of comfort or personal safety have been violated