How to Be An LGBTQ+ Ally on Campus

With college campuses growing more diverse as semesters go on, it can be hard to keep up with the changing society around you. Whether you are straight, LGBTQ+, white, a person of color, etc., chances are you will be introduced to new identities or backgrounds in your time at school. I like to hope that most people want everyone to feel included and heard, and that’s who these next steps are for.

1. Be open-minded

This seems like a simple step, but it can be hard for some. When you live your life with certain norms and identities in your life, it can be hard when your previous beliefs are challenged. It’s easy to write something off as weird and different, but know that it only seems weird to you because you have not been in their shoes.

2. Respect everyone

Just because someone leads their life differently to you, doesn't mean you can disrespect that. Love is love, and gender is something that only you can define for yourself. Respect people’s pronouns, partners, and their life. Someone’s identity does not affect yours.

3. Show that you are a safe person to talk to

Something as simple as having an ally pin on your backpack can mean the world to someone. Living in a primarily Republican area can lead someone in the LGBTQ+ community to be wary of who to speak to, so showing a little sign of support can show that you are safe and accepting.

4. Don’t speak over LGBTQ+ individuals

Being straight gives a privilege that LGBTQ+ individuals don’t have. Heterosexual people cannot speak for the LGBTQ+ community and their needs. No one gets to tell people who they can love or what their identity is allowed to be.

5. Use inclusive and gender-neutral language

Don’t assume how someone identifies, whether it be gender or sexuality. Normalize making sure you have someone’s pronouns correct and don’t assume someone is heterosexual. It may be something you wouldn't have to think about, but it can mean a feeling of exclusion to someone else.

It’s important to remember that everyone in college just wants to feel accepted and safe. Taking these five tips into consideration in your everyday life can lead to a much more inclusive college environment. The most important thing is at least trying to be an ally, and not being close-minded. Respect everyone’s pronouns, accept everyone’s sexuality, and keep your mind open, and a much better environment will be created.