An Ally is someone who helps and supports someone else. An Ally is someone who works across their own identities, communities and experiences to support social justice.
Ally is often used to refer to a heterosexual and gender-conforming person who supports and works for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
Allies are not experts about matters of sexuality and gender identity – they are people who strongly support the University's stance on making this an environment where all people can safely work and study free of harassment or discrimination. In particular, an Ally understands the reasons why many transgender, bisexual, gay, lesbian or intersex people are not in positions to speak out on their own behalf, or are fearful of being harassed or discriminated against, and why it is important to have allies who are prepared to do this.
However, people have multiple identities, and sometimes we hold both majority and minority identities in different communities and contexts. Additionally, people/communities with oppressed identities can be allies to each other as well -- a lesbian might be an Ally to transgender folks, or a gay man might be an Ally to bisexual women, etc.
Expectations of an Ally
Allys undertake a voluntary role knowing that their contribution helps to make the ANU a better place to work and study for everyone, not just members of the community who identify as GLBTIQQA.
Allys have a special Ally sign near their work area which advertises their official ‘ANU Ally' status. Allys provide a ‘safe zone' for students and staff who identify as GLBTIQQA (see definition below), and their friends. Allys have a folder of community information which they can provide to people who enquire; for example, about youth services, health services, information for parents of lesbians and gay men, etc. Allys also have copies of articles and information about topics related to sexuality and gender identity that they can share with people who would like to know more information.
An ANU Ally is expected to:
- Be a role model for the University community through their behaviour and language.
- Raise the visibility of the ANU Ally Network by placing Ally posters in suitable areas and displaying their Ally sign in their work area. (Note: The Ally sign belongs to the person and is not to be left at the work area if it is staffed by another person.)
- Have their name advertised as an official ANU Ally on the website.
- Provide a confidential and safe environment for people to make enquiries about issues related to GLBTIQQA matters.
- Provide information and appropriate referral.
- Proactively address homophobic or heterosexist behaviour in the workplace.
- Attend further Ally seminars whenever possible. Actively seek to extend their own knowledge and understanding about the issues.
Sometimes acronyms are a confusing mix of letters and we are not always aware of what they mean individually. The acronym GLBTIQQA is broad and inclusive and stands for the following:
G – Gay A person who has significant romantic or sexual attractions primarily to members of the same gender or sex. Commonly associated with male identified persons.
L – Lesbian A female/woman who has significant romantic or sexual attractions primarily to members of the same gender or sex.
B – Bisexual A person with the potential to be attracted, romantically and sexually, to people of more than one sex or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
T – Transgender A broad term for those whose gender identity or gender expression is not congruent with the sex assigned at birth and/or whose gender is not validated by the dominant culture.
I – Intersex A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male.
Q – Queer Reclaimed derogatory slang for the gender and sexual minority communities. Not accepted by all who identify as a gender or sexual minority.
Q – Questioning An individual who is working through their own process to recognise their individual sexuality, and what and who they respond to romantically and sexually.
A – Asexual An general term for people who tend not to have a sexual affinity towards others.