By: Ally Hoffman MA, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton MA, LPC-S
In June, we recognize Pride. We hear a lot about being an ally of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus (LGBTQIA+) community. There is much confusion about what it means to be an ally. For instance, some might still wonder what is expected. They may wonder what is involved, and how to best show their support.
Allyship and Ambiguity
Ambiguity can be challenging to understand. When discussing gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation, we often have to dabble in shades of grey. As such, it is essential to familiarize ourselves with some helpful language surrounding some of the nuances of this population.
According to Dictionary.com, an Ally is “a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose.” This encompasses the idea that we do not have to be the same to support their cause. However, allies frequently have some level of influence. They are known to use that power as a platform to encourage visibility and or acceptance of an idea or population.
Gender identity is an individual’s internal expression of self. Whereas gender expression is more external. An external expression can include many different things. Such as: what a person chooses to wear, how they style their hair, or apply cosmetics or not. Exterior features are often influenced by our societal view of masculine and feminine. Additionally, they often reflect the dominant culture’s values in specific areas. On the other hand, sexual expression can be the attraction one might feel physically and/or emotionally to other individuals. It is critical that allies make an effort to educate themselves and utilize the appropriate language to the best of their ability.
Steps to Take Towards Becoming an Ally:
1. Educate Yourself
Well, looky there! You have already taken a step in the right direction! Just by clicking this link! What’s important is to take the initiative to find the information. You can do this with online research or by asking questions of community members. Seek out resources in your local area. We must recognize our biases, and be open to criticism.
2. Remain Curious
It is equally important to keep an open mind while learning. For example, not every individual associated with the LGBTQIA+ community feels oppressed. Therefore, be willing to hear each person’s story. Learning is a lifelong process! We each have the power to create a ripple effect for these individuals.
3. Awareness & Action
Clearly, awareness and action are where the grit meets the grindstone. Being an ally involves staying up to date on current issues! For example, how it affects the population. It’s crucial, as an ally, to utilize those moments to educate others and begin creating the change we would like to see in the world.
Begin Counseling to Become a Better LGBTQIA+ Supporter!
If you are ready to become an Ally and LGBTQIA+ supporter, the therapists at the Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about emotionally focused therapy
- Meet with one of our knowledgeable therapists
- Find ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community!
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!