How to be an ally to the LGBTIQA+ community

The importance of being a good ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and related (LGBTIQA+) community cannot be overstated. It’s our responsibility to actively support and uplift marginalised voices, fostering environments where everyone feels safe, respected and celebrated for who they are. Here’s how to be an ally.

Charles Sturt University rainbow steps at Port Macquarie

Recognise intersectionality

Understand that LGBTIQA+ individuals may also face discrimination and marginalisation based on factors such as race, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, or religion. Acknowledge and address the intersectional nature of oppression.

A person with a rainbow fan

Listen and learn

Listen to the experiences and perspectives of LGBTIQA+ individuals without judgement or defensiveness. Validate their feelings and provide support. Be open to feedback and also willing to learn from your mistakes. Recognise that everyone’s experience is unique, and avoid making assumptions based on stereotypes.

Challenge assumptions

Assuming that everyone is heterosexual or cisgender can have negative impacts on the lives of LGBTIQA+ people. Try to avoid making assumptions about people based on their appearance or stereotypes.

Share your pronouns

A sign reading 'Correct pronouns usage saves lives'

Pronouns are substitutes for names when referring to individuals, like she/her, he/him, or they/them. Some individuals may utilise multiple pronouns, such as she/they or he/they. Employing the correct pronouns is crucial for demonstrating respect and inclusivity. Asking people’s pronouns greatly enhances the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse individuals. Sharing your own pronouns communicates to colleagues and others that you recognise and will honour their pronouns as well.

Use your voice

A person in a pink suit raising a fist during an anti-discrimination rally

Use your voice and privilege to speak out against discrimination, harassment and violence targeting LGBTIQA+ individuals. Challenge homophobic, transphobic or derogatory language and behaviour when you encounter it. Support policies and initiatives that focus on LGBTIQA+ rights and inclusion in your community, workplace and broader society.

Stand together

At Charles Sturt, we’re proud to stand with the LGBTIQA+ community. ‘Inclusive’ is one of the values that we base everything at Charles Sturt around. It informs what we do, but also what we stand for.

Five people dressed in colourful shirts at the Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras

Since it’s inception in 2019, we’ve been one of the primary sponsors of Wagga Wagga’s Mardi Gras. We’re also a continuing regional partner for the 2024 Queer Screen Film Festival – Best of the Fest. And we’re a member of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTIQA+ workplace inclusion.

We also have the Chosen Name Program. We recognise that transgender students who have not legally changed their birth name can struggle being labelled under that birth name. That’s why the program allows you to change your details to any name you like on our student portal, class lists, email communications and library system. We’ll call you by the name that you want.

Moreover, we have the Ally program.

How to be part of the Ally program

Charles Sturt’s Ally Network is an informal, visible network of students and staff who are identified allies to the LGBTIQA+ community. Whether in the closet or openly out, if you need to talk to someone about anything regarding sexual and gender identity, you can speak to an ally. Allies are trained to provide you with support, and you will have a safe, confidential space to talk about whatever you need. They can also link you with other support services as you need.

You can find an ally on your campus or online.

The Charles Sturt logo over a rainbow background

Nicolas Steepe helped to set up the Ally program.

Nicholas Steepe

“Volunteers are drawn from staff and students and are asked to show leadership in being supportive, to promote a greater understanding of the rainbow community and to challenge wherever possible homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism on campus.”

If you are studying or working with Charles Sturt, you can join the Ally program.

If you would like to embed inclusion and equity into your organisation, study our Graduate Certificate in Intersectionality, Diversity and Inclusion. Or join one of our diversity micro-credentials – the perfect introduction to the topic for you or your team.