Old Dominion University
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Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services

ODU Safe Space Committee


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What is an Ally?                      

An LGBTQ Ally is a person who is a part of the heterosexual majority that works to end oppression and homophobia by providing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.


Why be an Ally?                  

As a member of the campus community, you're in a unique position. You have the opportunity to learn, teach, and make an impact on faculty, staff, and students. By being a safe person to talk with, you may help an LGBTQ individual develop a greater sense of self-esteem and pride in who they are. By making your support visible, you're also sending a message to people who aren't supporters yet. You're letting them know that your space -- be it a classroom, residence hall room, or office -- is a space of acceptance. 


How to be an Ally:

  • Display a sign or symbol on your office door or window that clearly shows it is a safe space.
  • Offer support, taking care to maintain confidentiality, be a good listener, and refrain from judgment.
  • Have information readily available for someone who might approach you, such as contact details for local resources.
  • Know your limits; don't counsel people if you aren't qualified! Instead, provide referrals.
  • Educate yourself. Learn about laws and policies that affect the LGBTQ community. Learn about LGBTQ culture.
  • Take a stand for fairness and join the fight for equality. Contact local and national organizations for information or to volunteer.
  • Start a Safe Space program at your school or workplace.  
  • Use inclusive language. Don't assume everyone is heterosexual.
  • Speak up when you hear non-inclusive language, gently challenging the person who's using it.
  • Confront your own prejudices and homophobia, even if it's uncomfortable.