What does it mean if you are an ally?
Well, an ally is anyone who supports and fights alongside people who are oppressed or suffering abuse. Examples of oppressed groups are the LGBTQ community, ethnic minorities, women, and basically any person or group who is being unfairly treated in some way. As an ally, you support these people as they campaign and – in most cases – seek out equal rights.
Many of you might support a lot of causes but want to learn how you can do more and be a proper ally. Here are a few suggestions that apply across the board to all causes.
Be vocal and outspoken
The worst thing you can do is stay silent. It’s alright to say you’re an ally, but if you don’t vocalize your support, it’s worthless. That sounds harsh, but it’s true! The more people that talk about an issue and spread news, the better it is. It shines more light on a topic and gets more people aware of what’s happening. Instead of reading an article, share it on your social media. Call people out if you think their views are hurtful and make it known that you support the oppressed and want to help!
Stay in the loop
Similarly, one of the best ways to be vocal is to understand the current issues for the groups you’re supporting. To do this, you need to stay in the loop and get all the current information. Again, social media is probably the best way to do this. Follow pages on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates from communities around the world. You often find groups like DTSS that produce their own content or look into stories that the mainstream media don’t want to touch. Following groups related to your causes opens your eyes to what’s really going on and helps you empathize with those in need.
Talk to the people suffering
Finally, you should always seek out people in these groups and talk to them. If you want to support the LGBTQ community, speak to people who are in it. Listen to their stories, hear what life is like for them, and listen to their demands. Most of the time, you will be equal parts disgusted and amazed. You’ll be disgusted at what marginalized and oppressed groups go through, and amazed at what they demand. This isn’t because their demands are crazy, it’s quite the opposite – you’re amazed at the simplicity. More often than not, the only demand is equal rights for their group! Also, by speaking to these people you will get more advice on what you can do to help.
Being an ally is more than just saying you support a cause. It’s about actively doing things that support that cause and help the campaign for justice. Too many people sit on the sofa and feel content that they’re making a difference just because they say they support a campaign. If you truly want to be an ally, do more.