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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown


My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only human together.

~ Desmond Tutu

It's June. Ready to learn more about being an ally to a marginalized community? It's important that we take time to do this, it's important to take care of fellow humans.

What's an ally? An ally is one that is associated with another as a helper; a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity or struggle. In recent years, the term has been adopted specifically to a person supporting a marginalized group.  When it comes to being an ally for the LGBTQI+ community, it means educating yourself, speak out and advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community.  

Being an ally is more than being sympathetic towards those who experience discrimination. It is more than simply believing in equality. Being an ally means being willing to act with and for others in pursuit of ending oppression and creating equality. 

An ally is someone who whose personal commitment to fighting oppression and prejudice is reflected in willingness to:

1. Educate oneself about different identities and experiences. Listen and learn. 

2. Challenge one’s own discomfort and prejudices. 

3. Learn and practice the skills of being an ally, keep learning because every day it changes.  Be aware of nuances. 

4. Take action to create interpersonal, societal and institutional change.  Use your privilege to bring support.  Yield the floor to allow for the voices who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to have their say. 

5.  Understand that this is a lifelong learning process.  You can't only practice allyship in June.

It is important to note that allyship is not an identity. It is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalized individuals and groups of people. Even more important is that allyship cannot be self-defined; our work and our efforts must be recognized by the people we seek to ally ourselves with.

Listen, perhaps these conversations are difficult, or uncomfortable. But reaching out, building community regardless to lift up another person shows that love is the strongest force in the universe, and there is strength to be found in diversity.

To learn more about how to to be a better ally, check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.

If you'd like to learn more about LGBTQI and the Foreign Service, I've also recorded a number of podcasts on The Big Purple Blob covering topics related to LGBTQI+ communities as part of the Foreign Service and living overseas.  To listen, please click on the links below:

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