By DJ Williams
There are quite a few holidays this October – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween – but one thing this month that may not get as much recognition is Ally Week, which is from the 13th to the 17th this year.
An ally, for people who don’t know, is a person who actively supports the LGBTQ community. Ally Week should be about encouraging people to be allies – and if you consider yourself one already, it’s important to get other people to join the cause.
A lot of people don’t think being an ally is important, but high school can be more difficult for LGBTQ students than some realize. According to GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey, more than 60% of LGBTQ students in high school report feeling consistently unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation or gender expression, and more than 80% reported verbal harassment or bullying based on their sexual orientation or gender expression within the past year at the time of the survey.
Many people try to make Ally Week about celebrating allies – but while allies are important, being an ally to the LGBTQ community isn’t praiseworthy, it’s just being a decent person. Ally Week needs to be about informing more people, and stressing the importance of everyone being an ally.
So, if you want to consider yourself an ally, here are some things you can do to help:
Confront your friends about making homophobic or transphobic comments.
- Stay updated on LGBTQ issues – GLSEN is a student education network, and The Advocate is a general source for LGBTQ news.
- Report any instances of homophobic bullying you witness – don’t be a passive bystander.
You can help use Ally Week to make our school and our community a better place!