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Straight Allies

Even if You Aren't Gay There are Ways to Support the GLBT Community

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Often it is assumed that the only people who will stand up for a cause are those who are directly affected. But this isn't always the case. Just like a man might support women's reproductive health rights, a straight person might stand up for the rights of the gay community. Why is this? Some people just believe in gay rights and others come to view themselves as straight allies after a friend or relative comes out.

If you want to show your support there are plenty of ways to do so. In fact, in October there is even something called "ally week" where people who are straight allies to the gay community can show their support. Ally Week was started in 2005, and according to the organizers, it is designed to "celebrate Allies committed to ensuring safe and effective schools for all and to encourage students to take action."

But someone can be an ally all year long. Here is some information on being a straight ally, and some ways to do so.

1. What is a Straight Ally to the Gay Community?

Photo (c) Michael Illuchine
Often it is assumed that the only people who will stand up for a cause are those who are directly affected. But this isn't always the case. Just like an American might protest human rights abuses abroad, a straight person might stand up for the rights of the gay community. This is called being a straight ally... Read more

2. Everything You Need to Know About Gay / Straight Alliances

Image © yksin
Gay / Straight Alliances first emerged in the 1990s as a way for GLBT teens and their allies to connect, find support and provide education. Many high schools and colleges have GSA's. If your school doesn't, the GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) has lots of information on how you can start one... Read more

3. Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

gay pride flag
Image (c) Stéfan
GLSEN oversees Gay / Straight Alliances (GSAs), and sponsors the National Day of Silence, No Name Calling Week, and Ally Week. GLSEN also performs educator trainings and runs a website called ThinkB4YouSpeak which strives to fight anti-gay language in schools... Read more

4. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

parents friends lesbians and gays
Image (c) PFLAG
One of the first organizations for allies was Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG. This is a group founded in the 1970's by the mother of a young gay man. Since then, it has offered support and education to families and friends of GLBT individuals...Read more

5. The Day of Silence

Image (c) Day of Silence
The Day of Silence is an annual event that aims to reflect the challenges that GLBT teens facer on a daily basis. Teachers and students who participate spend a day without speaking to highlight the fact that many people in the GLBT community are forced to remain silent about who they are. The Day of Silence is a good way for allies to show support... Read more

6. Supporting Your Gay Family Members

Image (c) Quil stock.xchng
What can you do if your brother or sister comes out to you? What about if you have gay or lesbian parents? There are many ways to support GLBT family members. One of the biggest is to vocally defend your family member against any bullying... Read more

7. Helping Friends You Think Are Gay

gay teens
It's great when straight teens want to be GLBT allies, but that doesn't ever mean they should push gay friends to come out before they are ready. Here are some concrete ways you can show your support without crossing a friend's boundaries... Read more

8. Straight Celebrities Who Support Gay Rights

anne hathaway
Image (c) Kevin Winter
Celebrities of lend their names to causes to drum up support or raise awareness about an issue and well-known figures like Anne Hathaway, Daniel Radcliffe and Cyndi Lauper have all been vocal about their support of GLBT issues... Read more

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