Ally: a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle.
Allyship is not an identity, instead it is a process of forming a relationship based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized groups to advance their interests in fighting for equity. To be any ally means to use your privilege to support equity deserving groups. Furthermore, allyship requires action. It is not to act out of guilt or self gain.
An ally assumes power to act in a group’s best interest and takes action to support underrepresented groups. They support equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ/BIPOC social movements where they challenge homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. An ally must speak up for others, learn from their mistakes, and stay engaged.
Unconditional Allyship: standing in absolute solidarity by marginalized groups.
We cannot pick and choose when to be allies when it is trendy or convenient to do so. Your allyship is not a favour you can retract. You have to be there no matter what, even when it may seem unfavourable. Conditional allies only listen to marginalized groups when it benefits them or makes them feel comfortable about their privilege. Being an ally means to self-reflect on our privilege and think about how you can use it to make the system better.
To become an ally, you must:
- Do your research
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable
- Learn from your mistakes
- Amplify the messages of marginalized communities
- Speak up in your social circles
- Stay engaged
- Show up
- Avoid performative allyship
Performative Allyship: showing support for marginalized groups with the intent of self gain and making yourself look like a better or more moral person.
It is important to educate yourself on how to be a better ally, own and use your privilege, and accept feedback from marginalized groups on how you can do better.