Allies often find that they must go through a similar process as their LGBTQ friends, peers, students, etc. The process looks slightly different, but can be very similar in many ways. There is a process that Allies go through to fully realize their status as an ally for this population. Allies “come out” to themselves, to others, and can often be met with similar disdain, distrust, and disassociation from their friends, family, peers, coworkers, etc. Below is some basic information about this process:
Coming Out to Yourself:
It is extremely important for Allies to “come out” to themselves. This is simply a realization that you desire to help this population (LGBTQ). If you have already gone through the Safe Zone Ally training then you have already taken this first step.
Coming Out to Others:
After you realize that you want to be an Ally and possibly after you go through the Safe Zone training, now you may wish to “come out” to others. This process simply notifies those around you (your co-workers, peers, students, and supervisor) that you are a Safe Zone Ally. Here are some possible things you may do to “come out” to others:
- Post the Safe Zone Ally placard in your office/classroom
- Share information on how to become a Safe Zone Ally
- Interrupt jokes and derogatory comments about the LGBTQ population
- Work with and provide services to LGBTQ students
- Attend programs geared at educating the public on LGBTQ students
Remember that not everyone at UNC Charlotte or who visits UNC Charlotte is fully supportive of the Safe Zone Program; therefore, it is important to remember your own safety when becoming an Ally and then when “coming out” as an Ally.
As a result, there are some questions to be answered regarding your safety:
- Is your office/department accepting of the Safe Zone Program?
- Will you lose your job, a promotion, or incentives by becoming a Safe Zone Ally?
- Are the students you work with receptive to the Safe Zone Program?
- Are you comfortable with the risks associated with being a Safe Zone Ally?