Ross Students Share 7 Ways to Become an LGBTQ+ Ally on National Coming Out Day
Oct. 11 is known as National Coming Out Day, an LGBTQ+ awareness day celebrated in the United States since the late 1980s, and for the past week, Out for Business, the LGBTQ student group at Michigan Ross has worked diligently hosting and coordinating various events in celebration of the day.
Events included student coming out stories, ally trainings, photo booth opportunities and more. You can read more about MBA student Dayna Hine’s experience being a LGBTQ woman at Ross and what National Coming Out Day means to her. In the post, she highlights the importance of advocacy and support in bringing awareness to the community.
“When my fiancé came with me to GBR, we were fully accepted by the Out for Business students, making it incredibly clear that the LGBTQ community was supported by the larger Ross and UM communities,” said Hine in the post.
As individuals’ professional and personal lives become increasingly interconnected and intercultural, allyship is more important than ever. But what does being an ally really mean?
“Being an ally, in its simplest term, means being supportive of the LGBT community. It means coming from a place of understanding and caring, not judgment, and learning and supporting others who come from different gender identities or sexual orientations,” said Stefan Kapelac, MBA ‘18, and an organizer for National Coming Out Week activities at Ross.
According to Taryn Petryk, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ross, building an alliance with a community outside of your own means having a sense of awareness, educating oneself about the history and current issues that impact the community( laws, policies, practices, etc.), developing skills to communicate the awareness to others and most importantly, taking action to see change (intervening in harmful situations, personal support, educating others and advocacy).
Here are some steps you can take to be an ally:
Recognize and understand your own gender identity and sexual orientation
Understand that prejudice and discrimination can be overt or subtle
When someone makes an offensive comment, joke, etc., address the behavior
Resist making assumptions about an individual’s social identity background
Understanding that the concepts of identity and justice is not something you develop overnight; it’s a life-long journey
If you make a mistake regarding someone’s social identity, own up to it, learn from it and keep moving forward
Utilize your identity of privilege/position to address prejudice and discrimination
Kapelac also suggested things you can do in your everyday life.
“A simple way to start is by using gender-inclusive language when speaking to others and not assuming heteronormativity," he said. "More broadly, you can be an ally by asking questions when you’re not sure how your friends are feeling and making an effort to learn about the LGBT community through its history and struggles.”