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How to Signal You are an Ally in Hostile Environment

Guide Length: Short

Allies provide important support for LGBTQ+ young people, especially in the face of increased marginalization. In 2023 alone, over 600 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been passed, in some cases making it harder for allies to signal their support in schools and workplaces.

Unfortunately, this is now a reality in over 15 states, and it’s not always easy to show your support if your workplace, school, or environment is hostile to LGBTQ+ folks. But that’s why it’s so important to do it anyway.

Teachers especially face a difficult task in schools — here’s how to signal to others and LGBTQ+ young people that you are a safe person to turn to:

Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns.

Invite others to do the same.

If you’re able, decorate your space with items that signify allyship.

This could be a pronoun button, a flag, or a poster of an LGBTQ+ film or artist.

Do not tolerate bullying or harassment in your space at all.

If bullying or harassment happens, enact consequences and hold the person causing harm accountable.

Talk positively about LGBTQ+ people.

Even in instances where it’s not appropriate to share their identity, this can show allyship. Always condemn acts of erasure if you’re able.

If you can’t talk positively about LGBTQ+ people, talk positively about famous LGBTQ+ allies.

Show that you’re a friend of the community by highlighting other people who are loud and proud allies. 

Integrate LGBTQ+ history and topics into conversation.

If you’re a teacher, weave LGBTQ+ accomplishments into your lessons if you are able.

Advocate for LGBTQ+ young people in your community.

Whether by showing up at a demonstration, participating in mutual aid, or using your voice to speak out against bigotry, your advocacy has an impact.

Unfortunately, there are spaces where mentioning LGBTQ+ subjects is dangerous or even illegal. Subtle gestures can show that you’re someone who will be a support system, even if it is in a private setting.

Learn more about
LGBTQ+ Community Resources