Strategies for Being a Safe Zone Ally

Listen

  • The most important strategy for an Ally is to listen without judgment and with compassion.

Don’t Make Assumptions

  • Don’t assume that the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person is the most important aspect of that person, or the only topic they want to discuss. Remember that everyone is a multifaceted individual whose sexuality is only one aspect of their total life.
  • Don’t assume that all unmarried people are single or have relationships or desire relationships with individuals of the “opposite” gender/sex.
  • Don’t assume all mothers and fathers are heterosexuals or that children live in families consisting of a male-female couple.

Be Aware of Your Language

  • Use inclusive terms such as “partner,” “significant other,” or “date” instead of “spouse,” “wife,” “husband,” “boyfriend,” or “girlfriend.”
  • Use inclusive terms such as “committed relationship” instead of “marriage.”
  • Use terms that are gender neutral and don’t assume the sex/gender of someone’s partner, such as “person,” “someone,” or “anyone.”
  • Use preferred pronouns including gender neutral pronouns such as “zi/hir” or the singular “they.”

Be Aware of Your Own Bias

  • Be an Ally 100% of the time, no deals, no strings attached.
  • Recognize that it will take some time to bridge communication gaps and develop an understanding of the experiences of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities from your own.
  • You don’t have to try and convince individuals that you are “on their side,” just be there for them.
  • Confront jokes and slurs: silence may communicate that you condone the prejudicial behavior.