An ally, straight ally, or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and/or cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Not everyone who meets this definition identifies as an "ally". An ally acknowledges that LGBTQ people face discrimination and thus are socially disadvantaged. They aim to use their position as heterosexual or cisgender individuals in a society focused on heteronormativity to counter discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Organizations and activism
Most LGBT organizations have straight or cisgender members involved; others actively encourage straight and cisgender participation. A gay–straight alliance (also known as a gender-sexuality alliance) is a student-run club that brings together LGBT and straight students to create a platform for activism to fight homophobia and transphobia. There are also some groups that unite the LGBT community to work together with allies. Founded in 1973, PFLAG is the original ally organization, started by Jeanne Manford, mother of the Ally movement. Based in the United States, PFLAG unites LGBTQ+ people with parents, families, and allies to gain full civil and legal equality for LGBTQ+ people. In 2007, the organization launched a new project, Straight for Equality to help more allies become engaged in the LGBTQ+ movement in the workplace, healthcare, and now in faith communities. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is another organization specifically formed to group allies of this cause.
To be clear, I don't consider myself an ally. I might be [a] straight cisgender man, but in my mind, I am a member of the LGBT community. I know the last thing that anyone wants is to add another letter to the acronym, but we need to make sure as a movement we're making a place for what we call "queer-spawn" to function and to be part of the community. Because even though I'm not gay, I do know what its like to be hated for who I am. And I do know what its like to be in the closet, and like every other member of the LGBT community, I did not have a choice in this. I was born into this movement.
Allies may receive criticism for a variety of reasons. For example, some believe that allies are unable to step outside their own heteronormative world to advocate. Allies are also criticized for using LGBTQ advocacy as a means to gain popularity and status.
- Athlete Ally
- Atticus Circle
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- Human Rights Campaign – LGBT rights
- Human rights in the United States
- LGBT rights in the United States
- Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality in Russia
- "What We Do: Gay-Straight Alliance". Gsanetwork.org. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
- "Straight for Equality website". Straightforequality.org. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- Washington Blade: Phil Reese, "'That kid from YouTube'," May 23, 2012, accessed June 2, 2012
- DeTurk, Sara (2011). "Allies in Action: The Communicative Experiences of People Who Challenge Social Injustice on Behalf of Others". Communication Quarterly. 59 (5): 569–590. doi:10.1080/01463373.2011.614209.
- Becker, Ron (2006). "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class: The Affordable, Multicultural Politics of the Gay Nineties". Television & New Media. 7: 184–215. doi:10.1177/1527476403255830.