There are many different ways of being a safe and supportive ally in the queer and questioning community. These are just some suggestions:
- Don't assume everyone is heterosexual. Be aware that queer people are present in every walk of life, in every community. Almost everyone knows someone who is queer, but they may not know that their friends, family members or co-workers are queer.
- Try using gender neutral terms when discussing significant others, partners, spouses, etc.
- Avoid assumptions and stereotyping.
- Create an atmosphere of acceptance and celebration of diversity in your surrounding area.
- Talk to your queer friends, family members and/or co-workers.
- Avoid anti-gay, etc. (homophobic or heterosexist) remarks, jokes, statements, etc.
- Challenge homophobic language and actions that others are displaying.
- Continue to educate yourself about issues facing queer people. If you don't understand something, look to local or online resources, read an article or a book, and participate in discussions related to queer issues and individuals.
- Be willing to discuss issues impacting queer individuals and communities. Do this in a positive, non-judgmental manner.
- Provide information and referrals of resources for queer or questioning individuals. The Bates Safe Zone Project does not expect allies to know everything or act as counselors. Refer people to offices, individuals and other resources that have the information they need (Outfront, Bates Health Center).
- Be willing to assist queer individuals in accessing support and information.
- Incorporate queer issues and individuals into course curricula. Many historical and literary figures were queer. Use gender neutral or both heterosexual and queer examples in math or economics courses. Look at same-sex families in sociology, child development, etc.
- Join the queer community to attain and protect civil rights, constitutional freedoms, protections, and other political and social causes.
- Come Out. Share your experiences as an ally with others. Encourage them to be allies.
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