Relationships & Family

How To Be An Ally

By Brandi Bellamy, AMFT, PPS

In this big world, we are surrounded by people who have different life experiences than we do. No one is going to have quite the same life as yours. Your friends may have a different culture, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, or immigration status than you do. And while you might not always be able to understand their life experiences, what you can do is take time to learn about their experiences and put in the effort to become an ally. 

An ally is someone who helps and supports others (usually others of a minority group) even though they themselves aren’t part of that experience or group. The most common example you might’ve heard of is someone being a “gay pride ally” – even though they themselves don’t identify as part of the LGBTQ + community, they put in the effort to understand and support those around them who are a part of the community.

While it might seem easy to call yourself an ally, it’s important to understand what that title means before doing so. Being an ally requires true commitment. Here are some action steps you can take to become an ally:

Listen. Listening is the initial and most important step to being an ally. Listening requires you to let down your walls and understand other people’s points of view.

Learn. Take time to do your own research about the history of the minority group or identity you are trying to learn about. Use books, websites or personal anecdotes. It is not up to people who are part of this group or identity to educate you. True allyship involves personal effort.

Speak up. When you hear someone saying prejudiced, speak up, even if no one is listening.  Your privilege is that you have the opportunity to tell people that they are being disrespectful.

Educate. Use what you learn and share it with people in your community to clear up misconceptions they may have. 

Create space. People in minority groups do not always feel welcomed in all spaces. As an ally, it is your responsibility to build inclusive spaces that value multiple perspectives.

Share your privilege. Not everybody has the same access to resources or opportunities. Share those resources /opportunities or fight for them to have the same access. 

Acknowledge mistakes. We are human and mistakes WILL happen.  Don’t fixate on it, instead: Acknowledge. Apologize. Amend. They don’t have to accept your apology, but allyship goes beyond your relationship with particular individuals, it is a dedication to being there for an entire community.

Being an ally isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Here are some resources to get you started on your journey:

Resources :

Ways to be an ally,t%20mean%20it’s%20not%20happening 

Ways to not be a performative ally 

Anti-racism books for kids and teens 

Tips to be a trans ally 

10 ways to be an ally to the Muslim community 

Reposted with permission.