How to Be a Good Ally

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program Newsletter

rainbow striped sidewalk
image from pixabay

(Adapted from the Department of Enterprise Services’ “DES Daily” blog)

Creating a supportive and accepting environment allows everyone to bring their true selves to work. We can extend our recognition of Pride Month and commit to supporting LGBTQ+ folks all year-round, and we can amplify and support the movement for Black lives by asking ourselves: What does it mean to be a good ally? 

The State of Washington’s Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN) helped outline things you can do:

Listen and learn

Have an open mind and listen without judgement:

  • Let those who are marginalized take the lead. Listen to their direction and work with them to support their needs.
  • Don’t get defensive or discouraged when you get things wrong. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s okay.

Have empathy

Being a good ally means having empathy and compassion for people whose experiences are not your own – it’s not about you, it’s about how to support achieving equality.

Be vocal and visible

A large part of being an ally is being visibly vocal about it and shouldering some of the burden of educating others. Use your voice to advocate for others, even when it may be uncomfortable.