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June 28, 2021
Ally and proud quote to support LGBTQ+ community. Equality and tolerance concept. T-shirt design.Shutterstock
Today is Pride Day, a special observance during Pride Month to commemorate the day in 1970 that the first Pride march was held in New York City. The day is marked in myriad ways around the globe by LGBTQ+ and their allies.
Which brings us to … just what is an ally? The authors of a BCG article on fostering allyship in the workplace offer this definition: “An ally is someone who actively questions, rejects and combats exclusionary ideology and works against oppression. Allies support and advocate for populations and communities of which they are not a part, using their power and privilege to uplift others.”
Some have added (and I agree) that ally should be considered a verb, not a noun. It’s something you do, not something you are. Along those same lines, others say (and I agree here, too) that you can’t declare yourself to be an ally. You have to prove it with your actions. In the case of LGBTQ+, that means going beyond displaying the Pride flag, adding pronouns to your email signature and showing up to support Pride Day and/or Pride Month events. Allyship is more than a day, more than a month, more that a year. It’s a 24/7/365 commitment. Prejudice is always there. Allyship must be as well.
As with anything else in DE&I, the most important thing to do is get started. The LGBRQIA Resource Center at UC Davis advises that you take responsibility for your own education on issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition, be prepared to make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. Acknowledge them, apologize if necessary, learn from them and keep going.
While there is no one right way to be an ally, scroll through our slideshow above for more expert tips on how you, your co-workers and your organization can do your best at LGBQT+ allyship.
For expert insights on becoming an ally, check out our on-demand virtual workshop, “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategies for Business Success.” Di Ciruolo provides insights on “How to Build Inclusive Teams.” Gary Cormier discusses “A Call to Action: Being an Ally.”
Managing Editor, Channel Futures
Buffy Naylor is managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.
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