Being a Better Ally to LGBT Youth of Color
This year's Ally Week, our campaign is focusing on the idea that everyone- no matter one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, race, etc. can become a better ally to someone else. All students can become better allies to LGBT students of color by deepening their understanding about what it is like to carry both identities in school today. We hope the activities below help to shift the national conversation on allyship from simply becoming allies to taking further steps in learning how to be a vocal and active member of the ally movement!
"Don't misunderstand me, I loved the gay community, but nobody looked like me. While everybody listened to Lady Gaga and danced to the latest techno, I stayed behind, swooning over Romeo Santos and wanting nothing else, but to dance Bachata. When I opened the latest edition of gay publications, I would see primarily white gay men being avidly represented; there were little to no people of color. Whenever they did appear, it was a poster about HIV/AIDS. It hurt me." - Luis, GLSEN's 2012 Student Advocate of the Year
Actions in a minute:
- Tweet about GLSEN’s Ally Week using hashtag: #AllyWeek and #BetterAllies TWEET!
- Post a link to our Ally Week website on your Facebook page
- Speak up when you hear anti-LGBT and racial bias language at school
- Whenever possible, amplify the voices of LGBT students of color and encourage their leadership and not just your own or the voices and leadership of white LGBT individuals
- Ask your Congressperson to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act!
Actions for an hour:
- Check out our Shared Differences: The Experiences of LGBT Students of Color in Our Nation's Schools, a resource that documents the experiences of over 2,000 LGBT middle and high school students of color.
- Pay attention to how often you hear anti-LGBT and racial bias language in your life. Empathy is often the driver of change.
- Print out our “I am an Ally” selfie resource and post it on the GLSEN Facebook page
- Watch the above YouTube video, Getting Called Out: How to Apologize, then have a discussion with your friends and/or GSA about moments where you've been called out and how you resolved the issue.
- Reflect on your own experiences in school and how they may be different if you held various racial identities along with being LGBT.
Actions for an afternoon:
- Ask about someone’s experience and create space for story sharing.
- Build a lesson plan to help your class or GSA think deeply about the ways homophobia, transphobia, racism, and classism impact students on a daily basis. For reference use: Working with LGBT Students of Color: A Guide for Educators
- Celebrate the impact people of color have had in the LGBT community. We'd suggest using one of our Heritage Month resources: Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
- Discuss with your GSA the ways the GSA might have ever unknowingly participated in the marginalization or oppression of people of color, particularly LGBT people of color. Come up with alternative actions that push back against racism.
- Design a bulletin board in your school that reflects LGBT people of color in history or present day
- If you are an LGBT student of color, write an article for the school newspaper sharing your experiences of how your identities relate to each other.
- Read about cultural appripriation and how people often participate in this unknowingly, perpetuating the unequal power distribution between cultures and oppression of the marginalized group.
- Consider how racism has a negative impact on everyone, including you, your communities, and the LGBT and safe schools movements.