Ally Training

Menstuff® has information on Ally Training to support LGBTQIA people, particuclarly on college campuses.

What is Ally Training?

Ally Training is a 2-hour workshop for Cal Poly staff, faculty, and students who are interested in becoming allies for the LGBT, Queer, and Questioning community.

Our definition of an Ally: A person, often straight, who is accepting and supportive of the LGBTQ community.

What happens at Ally Training?

Ally Training may have anywhere from 8 to 15 participants. While the Pride Center staff will be presenting you with information, the majority of the training will be group discussions to explore LGBT, Queer, Questioning and Ally issues and homophobia. Activities are designed to facilitate understanding of common LGBTQ and ally experiences. The session will also have many opportunities for question and answers with LGBTQA students.

Dates and Times

Trainings have ended for the Fall 2009 quarter. Below are dates for the Winter 2010 Ally Trainings. Time have not been determined yet, but please check back closer to the dates. There are often two options of training times on each date.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 University Union room 219 Time: TBD

Thursday, March 3, 2010 University Union room 216 Time: TBD

Prep Work

Before you come to training, we would encourage you to read the following documents.

Becoming an Ally

In relation to issues of oppression, an ally is defined as “a person who is a member of the dominant’ or ‘majority’ group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate with and for, the oppressed population.” The Pride Center at Cal Poly defines an ally as “a person, often straight, who is accepting and supportive of the LGBT community.” The following are four basic levels of ally development and are related specifically to becoming and ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

• Awareness is the first level. It is important to become more aware of who you are and how you are different from and similar to lesbian, gay, bisexual an transgender people. Such awareness can be gained through conversations with GLBT individuals, attending awareness-building workshops, reading about GLBT culture, and by self-examination.

• Knowledge/education is the second level. You must begin to acquire knowledge about sexual orientation and what the experience is for GLBT people in this country. This step includes learning about laws, policies and practices and how they affect GLBT persons in addition to educating yourself about GLBT culture and the norms of this community. Materials listed in the resource lists provided are a good starting place.

• Skills make up the third level. This area is the one in which people often fall short because of fear or lack of resources or support. You must develop skills in communicating the knowledge that you have learned. These skills can be acquired through attending workshops, role playing situations with friends, developing support connections, and practicing interventions or awareness training in safe settings. An example may include confronting a student after hearing them tell a homophobic joke.

• Action is the last but most important level. This is the most frightening step. There are many challenges and liabilities for heterosexuals in taking actions to end oppression of GLBT people. However, action is, without a doubt, the only way that we can affect change in the society as a whole; for, if we keep our awareness, knowledge, and skills to ourselves, we deprive the rest of the world of what we have learned, thus keeping them from having the fullest possible life.

Source: Evans, N.J. & Wall, V.A. (1991) Beyond Tolerance: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals on Campus. Ally Definition Edited by Erin Echols, Coordinator, the Pride Center, Cal Poly 2008.

CASS Model of Homosexual Identity Development

1. Identity Confusion: "Could I be gay?" Person is beginning to wonder if "homosexuality" is personally relevant. Denial and confusion is experienced.

Task: Who am I? - Accept, Deny, Reject.

Possible Responses: Will avoid information about lesbians and gays; inhibit behavior; deny homosexuality ("experimenting," "an accident," "just drunk"). Males: May keep emotional involvement separate from sexual contact; Females: May have deep relationships that are non-sexual, though strongly emotional.

Possible Needs: May explore internal positive and negative judgments. Will be permitted to be uncertain regarding sexual identity. May find support in knowing that sexual behavior occurs along a spectrum. May receive permission and encouragement to explore sexual identity as a normal experience (like career identity, and social identity).

2. Identity Comparison: "Maybe this does apply to me." Will accept the possibility that she or he may be gay. Self-alienation becomes isolation.

Task: Deal with social alienation.

Possible Responses: May begin to grieve for losses and the things she or he will give up by embracing their sexual orientation. May compartmentalize their own sexuality. Accepts lesbian, gay definition of behavior but maintains "heterosexual" identity of self. Tells oneself, "It's only temporary"; I'm just in love with this particular woman/man," etc.

Possible Needs: Will be very important that the person develops own definitions. Will need information about sexual identity, lesbian, gay community resources, encouragement to talk about loss of heterosexual life expectations. May be permitted to keep some "heterosexual" identity (it is not an all or none issue).

3. Identity Tolerance: "I'm not the only one. " Accepts the probability of being homosexual and recognizes sexual, social, emotional needs that go with being lesbian and gay. Increased commitment to being lesbian or gay.

Task: Decrease social alienation by seeking out lesbians and gays.

Possible Responses: Beginning to have language to talk and think about the issue. Recognition that being lesbian or gay does not preclude other options. Accentuates difference between self and heterosexuals. Seeks out lesbian and gay culture (positive contact leads to more positive sense of self, negative contact leads to devaluation of the culture, stops growth). May try out variety of stereotypical roles.

Possible Needs: Be supported in exploring own shame feelings derived from heterosexism, as well as external heterosexism. Receive support in finding positive lesbian, gay community connections. It is particularly important for the person to know community resources.

4. Identity Acceptance: "I will be okay." Accepts, rather than tolerates, gay or lesbian self-image. There is continuing and increased contact with the gay and lesbian culture.

Task: Deal with inner tension of no longer subscribing to society's norm, attempt to bring congruence between private and public view of self.

Possible Responses: Accepts gay or lesbian self identification. May compartmentalize "gay life." Maintains less and less contact with heterosexual community. Attempts to "fit in" and "not make waves" within the gay and lesbian community. Begins some selective disclosures of sexual identity. More social coming out; more comfortable being seen with groups of men or women that are identified as "gay." More realistic evaluation of situation.

Possible Needs: Continue exploring grief and loss of heterosexual life expectations. Continue exploring internalized "homophobia" (learned shame for heterosexist society). Find support in making decisions about where, when, and to whom he or she self discloses.

5. Identity Pride: "I've got to let people know who I am!" Immerses self in gay and lesbian culture. Less and less involvement with heterosexual community. Us-them quality to political/social viewpoint.

Task: Deal with incongruent views of heterosexuals.

Possible Responses: Splits world into "gay" (good) and "straight" (bad). Experiences disclosure crises with heterosexuals as he or she is less willing to "blend in." Identifies gay culture as sole source of support; all gay friends, business connections, social connections.

Possible Needs: Receive support for exploring anger issues. Find support for exploring issues of heterosexism. Develop skills for coping with reactions and responses to disclosure of sexual identity. Resist being defensive!

6. Identity Synthesis: Develops holistic view of self. Defines self in a more complete fashion, not just in terms of sexual orientation.

Task: Integrate gay and lesbian identity so that instead of being the identity, it is on aspect of self.

Possible Responses: Continues to be angry at heterosexism, but with decreased intensity. Allows trust of others to increase and build. Gay and lesbian identity is integrated with all aspects of "self." Feels all right to move out into the community and not simply define space according to sexual orientation.

Adapted from: Cass, V. Homosexual Identity Development, 1979. Adopted by Susan Young, SIUC, 1995

Greek Allieseek Allies reach out to LGBTQIA community Lehigh University 27 Memorial Drive West Bethlehem, PA 18015 (610) 758-3000

A program aimed at connecting LGBTQIA issues with Greek life launched at the start of the 2009 academic year. The program, called Greek Allies, will reach out to students within the Greek community who identify themselves as LGBTQIA - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex or Ally.

Celinda Stanton, '11, said Greek Allies hopes to foster acceptance among any and all students within Lehigh's Greek community.

"We're doing campaigns to make our Greek system just a bit more friendly to LGBTQIA," Stanton said. "I feel like sometimes it's hard to be LGBTQIA or even an ally within the Greek system."

Greek Allies expect to offer educational programs, post informative flyers around campus, host panels and incorporate more allies into fraternity and sorority houses. Events are still being planned and the selected allies are undergoing training.

"Right now the first round of allies is going through the weekly training process," Christa Wessels, Greek life coordinator, said of the program's current focus. "They learn what it means to be an ally, how it ties into Greek life, how the values can intermix."

The office of fraternity affairs paired up with LGBTQIA services to help create Greek Allies, but two Lehigh students sparked the idea.

Ryan Leichtweisz, '10, and Jake Natalini, '08, had noticed the rising national attention to LGBTQIA issues within collegiate fraternities and sororities and decided to investigate the issue further.

"Two [Lehigh] students attended the Out & Greek conference in 2008," Wessels said. "It was the first conference ever held for students who are LGBTQIA."

Other universities had begun to establish bonds between LGBTQIA programs and Greek life and the national educational initiative, Lambda 10, started up an Out & Greek conference in 2008.

"There are pre-existing Greek Ally programs, but not many," Wessels said. "The more progressive universities have these programs. When the two students went [to the Out & Greek conference] they wondered what they could bring back to Lehigh."

The 2008 Out & Greek conference convinced Leichtweisz and Natalini to start a program at Lehigh. Applications to become allies were sent out soon after in the spring of 2009. Wessels credited Greek Allies' quick creation to the students' motivation to foster LGBTQIA-Greek acceptance.

"It's student driven," she said. "We're [Lehigh's administration] just providing the support. We sent them to the conference, we provided them with the resources. Now they're putting it together."

Students can get involved in three levels of Greek Allies. They can apply to become an ally within the Greek community, can act as an advocate that speaks with Greek chapters as a whole or can become one of two program coordinators.

Stanton decided to step up and help Leichtweisz as a program coordinator.

"We're kind of the two leaders of the group," Stanton said. "Ryan got it all rolling at Lehigh and since he's a senior, he wanted some help leading the group and training others to be program coordinators to continue the group past this year."

Voluntary allies will be dispersed throughout the Greek community. Stanton said the program aims to have an ally in each house in the future. Right now, there are not enough allies to do so. Instead of working within individual houses, the allies are focusing on creating a comfortable Greek environment for LGBTQIA students to be "out" in.

"When other people see that some Greeks have come out, we hope we'll inspire other people to be expressive too," Stanton said.

Greek intolerance or inability to relate to LGBTQIA issues has been an issue at Lehigh, Ricky Hernandez, '11, said. Hernandez is both President of Spectrum, a student organization that provides support, social opportunities, educational outreach, and social change for those who identify as LGBTQIA, and a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

"From a historical standpoint, there's been instances where Greek members were kicked out for being LGBTQIA," Hernandez said.

Stretching LGBTQIA support to the Greek community was the logical next step, Hernandez said. Lehigh's Greek prominence on campus made LGBTQIA-Greek struggles difficult to avoid or ignore. Greek Allies was a necessary implementation, he said.

"Lehigh has such a substantial Greek community, but LGBTQIA people think it's an unapproachable experience," Hernandez said. "I think this is a great program for LGBTQIA students who are looking to get into Greek life but were concerned with issues of homophobia before."

Despite a positive start to the Greek allies, one obstacle has presented itself.

"We have many different sororities represented, but only a couple of fraternities," Stanton said. "I would like to see a larger variety of fraternities."

Hernandez said that when he attended a Greek Allies meeting, he noticed that mostly girls were involved. But, he considers LGBTQIA struggles as mostly within fraternities.

"This is a good start," Hernandez said. "As publicity grows, it will help. And the Lehigh campus is becoming more LGBTQIA friendly, slowly but surely. This is a great starting step for greater things."


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