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Being a Better Ally to LGBT Youth of Color


This Ally Week, we invite you -- no matter how you identify -- to think deeply about how you can be an ally to LGBT youth. Allyship is about more than supporting equal rights for marginalized groups; it's about advocating for those groups, uplifting their voices, and reflecting constantly on the powerful intersections of identity, privilege and justice. We hope you'll use these ideas as a starting point in your journey to visible, vocal allyship.

"Don't misunderstand me; I loved the gay community, but nobody looked like me. While everybody listened to Lady Gaga and danced to the latest techno, I stayed behind, swooning over Romeo Santos and wanting nothing else but to dance Bachata. When I opened the latest edition of gay publications, I would see primarily white gay men being avidly represented; there were little to no people of color. Whenever they did appear, it was a poster about HIV/AIDS. It hurt me."

- Luis, GLSEN's 2012 Student Advocate of the Year


On your own: 

  • Get to know organizations like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, FIERCE!, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Council of La Raza, Race Forward, the Trans People of Color Coalition, and other groups that tackle racism, homophobia and transphobia and address intersectionality of identities. 
  • Speak up when you hear racist language, stereotyping or jokes at school.
  • Reflect on the advantages or disadvantages you may have faced based on your race, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Think about how these identities have affected one another, and write a journal entry about what you're feeling. 
  • Ask your Congressperson to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
  • If you are an LGBT student of color, write an article for the school newspaper sharing your experiences of how your identities relate to each other.

With your GSA:

  • Watch Getting Called Out: How to Apologize by Chescaleigh on YouTube, then have a discussion about calling out racism, homophobia and other harmful language or actions.
  • Celebrate the impact people of color have had in the LGBT community by recognizing heritage months schoolwide. We suggest using one of our Heritage Month resources: Latino/Hispanic Heritage MonthBlack History Month, and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
  • Discuss ways your GSA might have ever unknowingly participated in the marginalization or oppression of people of color, particularly LGBT people of color. Come up with alternative actions that push back against racism.
  • Design a bulletin board in your school that celebrates and honors LGBT people of color in history.
  • Organize a joint club meeting with your school's GSA and another student organization (Black Student Union, MEChA, etc.) and discuss how you can be allies to one another.
  • Read Part 5 of GLSEN's Jump-Start Guide for ideas about workshops on power, privilege and oppression. 

If you're an educator: