National Coming Out Day: How to be a Good Ally

On October 11th, 2016, we marked the 28th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. National Coming Out Day is a day each year where we celebrate not only coming out as LGBTQ+, but also coming out as an ally to those who identify themselves as LGBTQ+. Each person who speaks up about the LGBTQ+ community creates new strides for equality. 

1. Listen

When it comes to being an ally, listening is one of the most important things. Whether it is a classmate, a teammate, or even a stranger, be there to listen to others about their feelings. If someone comes out to you, there may be a lot of thoughts that go through your mind, and while those thoughts are important, focus on the person who is coming out to you.

2. Be Willing To Talk

Along with listening, be willing to talk to others about LGBTQ+ issues. While it is a touchy subject, you may be afraid to “say the wrong thing” or “make it weird”. The Human Rights Campaign has a few tips while having conversations with someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ or who recently has come out:

  • Be Honest
  • Be Reassuring
  • Ask Respectful Questions
  • Laugh A Little
  • Send Gentle Signals

3.  Be Consistent

When it comes to being an ally, there are no “days off.” Be there for others all the time, not when it is convenient for you. 

4.  Educate Yourself

To many, a lot of aspects LGBTQ+ community is unknown. Familiarize yourself with the different aspects of the community so you can become a better ally. A great resource to use is the Human Rights Campaign’s website, along with their “Supporter Guide,” which can be found here. (http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east

5. Speak Up

When you notice someone is being faced with discrimination, speak up. If you hear someone making hateful comments, speak up. 

6. Show your support

One of the easiest ways to be an ally is to come out and show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. Let others know where you stand. The Human Rights Campaign suggests:

  • Casually mentioning a news item about an LGBT issue in a positive way.
  • Putting a symbol like the Human Rights Campaign equal sign, the PFLAG logo or a sticker from another LGBT-supportive organization in your office or home, or on your vehicle.
  • Refraining from using demeaning words and challenging anti-LGBT jokes and rhetoric.
  • Reading an LGBT publication.
  • Joining an LGBT-related Facebook group.
  • Tweeting or blogging a message in support of LGBT issues.

Show your support of Bucknell's LGBTQ+ community by coming to the Celebrate Difference Community Photo on October 13th at noon on the Rooke Science steps!