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How to be an active ally

Garnier is on a mission to celebrate ALL skin, inclusive of ALL races, genders, ages & sexual orientations. We want to help build a community of supportive allies and ensure members of the LGBT+ community feel supported and heard. 

Garnier has worked with our brand advocates & We Create Space, an intersectional queer led community, to create some guidance on how individuals can become more supportive LGBT+ allies in their daily lives. Read on to find out more! 

What is an ally?

Someone who actively supports the rights of a minority or marginalised community without being a member of it. This includes the LGBT+ Community. Anyone can be an ally, and it’s important we all help each other, no matter who we are and where we come from!

What is allyship?

It’s best to think of ‘allyship’ as a verb. True allyship and support can only be seen, felt, and therefore proven, through action when it counts. There is no one example of what an act of allyship looks like, but it is often the smallest acts that are the most important. Often, making someone feel seen, or showing that you can see something is challenging for someone can be the most meaningful thing an ally can do.


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What does it mean to be a good ally?


Being aware of your privilege and that your lived experience may not be the same as someone else’s.

Educating yourself on the challenges faced by the LGBT+ Community, as well as other marginalised community - possessing an intersectional identity means someone belongs to multiple marginalised communities (e.g. a bi disabled person, or a Black Trans Woman.)

Having open & honest conversations with LGBT+ individuals to supplement your self-education and sharing learnings with other allies.

Building your own sense community at the intersections of different identity groups – this could be an existing group, or you could start one of your own. Meeting new people means that we can expand our horizons and awareness. Sharing interests with others is always key to make new, meaningful connections.

Acknowledging that there is always more learning to do!




When might someone need an ally?


Members of marginalised communities need allies in everyday life, not just when they are in vulnerable situations. Vulnerability could look like verbal, psychological or physical abuse - or it may simply be when someone receives a negative comment that validates stigma, prejudice, or discrimination. It could be passed off as “a joke”, but if it makes you feel awkward and is made at the expense of someone else it’s more likely to be a microagression. As an active ally, take initiative and reach out to offer your support even when things seem good, not just in moments of crisis. Allies lift people up, celebrate others, and fundamentally share their power.

How could you act?

Every situation is different, and it is often down to your own intuition, or what is the safest thing to do for everyone involved (including the ally themselves). It’s most helpful to think about acting following one of these two principles:

Calling in:
Addressing someone privately and making them aware that something they’ve said/done is not acceptable and perhaps suggest how they could change their behaviour. This is a good first resort for gently asking someone to modify their behaviour, especially if it was a mistake and they were unaware.

Calling Out:
When you call someone out, you issue a direct challenge to something they’ve said or done, usually in public. While it can be tempting to call out someone for their actions, this should only be a last resort after several attempts to call them in. Individuals are much less likely to take on valid criticism if they feel attacked while receiving it, and while it is not our responsibility to protect the feelings of people who are causing hurt to others, we can create a more productive conversation by approaching with empathy and compassion.


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6 Tips for Being an Effective Ally to the LGBTQ+ Community

1. Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. Read books, watch documentaries, and attend events (in-person/virtual), to deepen your understanding of the experiences and struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals. Understanding the nuances of identity and expression is key to being an informed ally.

2. Use Inclusive Language: Language has a powerful impact on how we perceive ourselves and others. Avoid using derogatory slurs and instead use gender-neutral language, such as “partner” or “they/them” pronouns. Be mindful of how you address others and ask for their preferred pronouns. You can find a comprehensive Queer Allyship Lexicon, which provides guidance on inclusive language, check it out here.

3. Support LGBTQ+-Owned Businesses: One way to show your support is to shop at businesses that are owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community. You can also attend events or donate to LGBTQ+ organizations and charities.

4. Speak Up: If you hear someone making offensive or derogatory comments about LGBTQ+ individuals, don’t be silent. Speak up and let them know that their language or behaviour is unacceptable. Use this as an opportunity to educate them and challenge their beliefs.

5. Amplify LGBTQ+ Voices: Share the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals on your social media and other platforms. By sharing their voices, you can help to raise awareness and visibility for the community.

6. Practice Self-Education: Keep learning about the experiences and challenges of LGBTQ+ individuals. As an ally, it’s important to constantly educate yourself and stay informed about issues that affect the community. We Create Space’s Resource Library offers a wealth of information, articles written by the LGBTQ+ community, videos from our webinars and panels, to help you deepen your understanding. Check it out here.

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By being an active ally, you can make a positive impact on the lives of LGBT+ individuals.

Remember, allyship is a journey and there will be mistakes along the way. The most important thing is to keep listening and learning from the community, and to keep taking action to support and empower them.

Allyship is about more than just individual actions - it can lead to systemic change and make a real difference in people’s lives. 

By continuing to educate ourselves and take action to support the LGBT+ community, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for ALL.