Access and Diversity Center
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Ways to Show Your Support for LGBTQ Individuals at USU
- Don't assume that everyone is heterosexual.
- Avoid homophobic remarks, jokes, and statements. As you feel comfortable, confront these actions of hatred.
- Use non-gender-specific language. Ask, "Are you seeing someone?" or "Are you in a committed relationship?" instead of "Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?" or "Are you married?" Use "partner" or "significant other" instead of assuming that someone has a husband or wife.
- Respect the boundaries of the students with whom you have contact.
- Have a good understanding of sexual orientation and be comfortable with your own.
- Remember that GLBT people are a diverse group. Each community within the larger GLBT community has unique needs and goals.
- Review your office's publications. Suggest changes to remove non-inclusive language.
- Provide informed referral by learning the resources available to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in your area and share the information.
- Be aware of the coming out process and realize that it is not a one-time event.
- Respect students rights to remain closeted: for many students there can be tremendous negative consequences to coming out, including loss of friends, family, financial support, and basic safety.
- Join with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons to protect their civil rights and constitutional freedoms.
- Be aware of when the needs of the students are beyond what you are trained to provide: refer students for counseling when appropriate.
- Do not assume the sexual orientation of another person even when that person is married or in a committed relationship. Many bisexuals, and even some gay men and lesbians, are in heterosexual relationships.
- Support GLBT students because they add to the vibrancy of thought, activity and life on campus - not because it's politically correct.
- Educate yourself about GLBT history, culture and concerns.
- Validate people's gender expression. For example, if a male-born person identifies as female, refer to that person as "she" and use her chosen name. If you are unsure how to refer to a person's gender, simply ask them.
- Encourage your group or organization to adopt a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.
- Help heterosexual students understand that GLBT people are a presence on campus and in society. They do not have to accept GLBT students, but they must learn to live peaceably with them.
- Display gay-affirming materials in a public location to raise awareness and show support.
- Understand your own feelings around GLBT issues.
- Understand why you feel it is important to be an Ally.
- Understand how heterosexism and homophobia affect both GLBT people and people who are not GLBT.
- Understand your socialization, prejudices, and privileges.
- Attend GLBT events, meetings, and programs.
- Attend Pride Month events.
- Talk with and learn from GLBT friends, classmates, and colleagues.
- Don't make assumptions, ask about things you don't understand.
- Risk discomfort and take risks to learn and grow as a person.
- Take a GLBT studies class, or another class dealing with GLBT issues.
- Do not assume that a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person is attracted to you just because they have disclosed their sexual identity. Treat any interest that someone might show just as you would if it came from someone who is heterosexual. Be flattered, not flustered.
- Challenge your own conceptions about gender-appropriate roles and behaviors.
- Ensure that publications are written in such a way that GLBT students will feel included in the audiences; avoid heterosexist language and assumptions. Read GLBT newspapers, magazines, and/or books.
- Know at least basic information about HIV/AIDS in order to address myths and misinformation.
- Go see or rent GLBT-themed movies.
- Do not "out" people unless given permission to do so.
- Remember that there are people in your halls, classes, clubs, and jobs who are GLBT.
- Talk with friends informally and openly about GLBT events or issues in the news, on TV shows, and in movies.
- Provide support to GLBT individuals who are targeted or subjects of heterosexist or homophobic jokes, comments, or assumptions - this can be done publicly or privately.
- Provide correct information when you hear myths and misperceptions about GLBT people. Critically consider media presentations of GLBT issues and call, email, or write the appropriate parties with complaints, suggestions, or praise.
- Participate in Pride activities. When teaching, include information about GLBT people who made significant contributions in the past.
- Include GLBT people in examples in classes, workshops, and presentations.
- Attend LIFE meetings (USU's Gay-Straight Alliance). LIFE's website: www.usu.edu/accesscenter/lgbtqa/life.cfm
- Visit the Access & Diversity Center's LGBTQA Center (TSC 314)