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University of Wisconsin – Madison

Allies

Below are some frequently asked questions from allies and people who want to learn more about LGBTQ issues and advocacy.

How can I use inclusive language?

Using appropriate and inclusive language is one of the most basic steps you can take toward creating comfortable spaces for everyone. Language is always changing and has different meanings for different people, social groups, and situations. A good start is to listen to others and see what terms they are using for themselves and their communities.

See our Trans and Queer Glossary for an extensive look at in-group and identity-based language.

Our Gender Pronouns Guide will help you understand how to use a variety of pronouns. For more on how to respect names and pronouns, see sections below.

How can I be an ally to LGBTQ communities?

We have several PDF resources to help you start learning more about LGBTQ communities, needs, and experiences.

How to Be a Better Ally offers several steps for you to think about your personal standpoints and move toward education and social change. 

Tips for Allies of Trans People has guidelines on respecting names, pronouns, and gender identity.

Intersex FAQs will teach you about intersex issues.

Bisexuality Basics is UC-Riverside's resource on myth-busting bisexuality.

Taking the Cake: An Illustrated Primer on Asexuality is a beautiful zine on asexuality by Anara from Portland, Oregon.

The LGBT Campus Center also offers comprehensive ally trainings for your group, staff, or classroom.

What can I do to interrupt homophobic behavior?

It can be difficult to know how to react to oppressive jokes, comments, or actions. Check out Interrupting Oppressive Behavior, a guide to deciding how to react in the moment.

In general, if you feel safe and knowledgable, we suggest trying to interject when you see offensive behavior. 

Try asking what the comment is supposed to mean, or asking the speaker to explain why a joke is supposed to be funny. The speaker may realize that their actions are based on stereotypes or inaccurate information.

Also, familiarize yourself with a variety of resources so you can refer people to accurate information.

Where can I learn more about LGBTQ lives and experiences?

We invite you to join us at any of our public events!  If you're a student, try taking an LGBT Studies course. Browsing our library, the university library system, and internet communities can also give you a good idea of some of the important conversations happening around LGBTQ lives and experiences.

If you are hoping to conduct an interview for a class project or newspaper article, please contact lgbt@studentlife.wisc.edu with details and a timeline. 

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