Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services

Tips for Allies

Use Inclusive Language

Use gender non-specific language: 'Partner, Significant other', gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they/them/their’. Model language and honour the pronouns your peers use. Take some time to learn what their identity words mean to them. When in doubt, ask respectfully: 'How do you identify? What pronouns do you use?'

Display Inclusive Symbols

Have LGBTQ2S+ resources relevant to the work your office does, pride flags (like the rainbow flag, or trans pride flag), pink triangles or other symbols that denote spaces as LGBTQ2S+ friendly. These symbols communicate nonverbally that you and your space are welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ people.

Seek Out Opportunities to Learn

Become an ally for students, faculty, and staff on campus. iSMSS hosts a number of workshops and professional development opportunities for individuals and groups on campus as well as in the wider community.

Do Not 'Out' Anyone

Even the most well-intentioned Ally can make mistakes. Remember not to talk or speculate about the identity of others without their explicit permission. Everyone deserves the right to self identify on their own terms.

Appreciate Intersections

Each of us is connected through the issue of social justice. Homophobia and transphobia are related to multiple oppressions such as racism, ableism, classism, sexism, and many more. We all occupy and navigate multiple identities, and they overlap in many ways. For example, people with physical disabilities and people who are transgender both face issues related to public washroom access. Let’s find where we overlap and build strong coalitions geared towards equity for all!