Principles of allies

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Cartoon of a flower and words around empathy
Cartoon of a flower and words around empathy
Sam Killermann/It Gets Better Project

What is an ally?

  • An ally is someone who cooperates or joins with another for a common purpose
  • An ally to the LGBTI community can be defined as someone who supports LGBTI people and/or is part of the community. These people believe in the human rights of all people and demonstrate this through their actions, their acceptance and celebration of diversity
  • A social justice ally is a person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly. Their personal commitment to fighting oppression and prejudice is reflected in a willingness to:
    - Educate oneself about different identities and experiences.
    - Challenge one’s own discomfort and prejudices.
    - Learn and practice the skills of being an ally.
    - Take action to create interpersonal, societal and institutional change.

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Cartoon of an ear and words about good listening
Cartoon of an ear and words about good listening
Sam Killermann/It Gets Better Project

Core characteristics

A social justice ally should aim to:

  • Be self-aware. This means knowing who we are and what we believe. 
  • Know about the issues. This includes basic facts, statistics, laws, policies etc. 
  • Be open. Allies promote respect, they acknowledge and celebrate differences.
  • Take action. Allies share what they know and realise that to change society they must take a stand for human rights.

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Cartoon of a thumbs up and words representing encouragement
Cartoon of a thumbs up and words representing encouragement
Sam Killermann/It Gets Better Project

What does it mean to be an ally?

Allies offer support and share a common interest in the cause of those they are allied with. In social justice issues, being an ally to another person or group of people is a key component in challenging oppression and privilege.  

When people form an alliance to speak out against prejudice and discrimination, people who are the target of that prejudice are not the only ones who benefit. All of us, regardless of our identity, benefit when any of us take steps toward eliminating prejudice and discrimination in our society. We all benefit from our collective efforts to create a better educated and more understanding world that treats each of us with dignity, respect, and equality. 

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Cartoon light bulb and words around inspiration
Cartoon light bulb and words around inspiration
Sam Killermann/It Gets Better Project

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

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Cartoon of bricks and words around confidence
Cartoon of bricks and words around confidence
Sam Killermann/It Gets Better Project