I voted Yes, what’s next for LGBTQ+ allies
Allies have always been an important part of the vibrant LGBTQ+ community and are key supports in achieving change. When given a clear vision and ask, allies always rise to the request and support key changes. With the marriage equality debate now well behind us, many allies are now asking ‘what’s next?’.
Active allyship can take many forms, but is best characterised by intentional, purpose-driven, and visible acts of LGBTQ+ inclusion as seen in the marriage equality vote.
Survey data shows declining ally engagement in Australia and overseas. In Australia, we theorise allies are looking for the next, new way to support the LGBTQ+.
We met with members of InterFirm Brisbane to find actions organisations and individuals, as allies, can take to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion.
The richness of this conversation resulted in I voted Yes, what’s next? a framework of actions across four dimensions: Visibility, Education, Empowerment and Engagement, and Advocacy, and three levels of experience: Foundational, Established, and Market-Leading. The actions within this framework helps organisations see where they are now and where they can work next, and support allies to understand what active, engaged allyship looks like.
To develop active allies these key observations are helpful.
- Ensure you have visible signs of inclusion such as lanyards, pronouns in email signatures, and rainbow logos visible year-round and in all spaces within your workplaces.
- Empower allies to share their stories of advancing LGBTQ+ inclusion, reinforcing the great work of allies and encouraging others to also take active steps to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion. This is particularly important for allyship to trans and gender diverse communities in 2021 and beyond.
- Making allyship visible is important to build momentum and further underscore the continuing importance of allyship in addressing remaining LGBTQ+ inequalities.
- For those more advanced on the journey, supporting your clients, industry peers, and community with your resources (such as training) is an excellent way to increase the value of these investments and further LGBTQ+ inclusion in corporate Australia.
Active allyship is the key to these actions and areas for focus. While grand gestures like supporting community organisations with significant pro-bono contributions and making LGBTQ+ people visible in external marketing are excellent, staff wearing rainbow lanyards and including pronouns in email signatures are just as valuable, and are arguably easier to implement and have a regular day-to-day impact.
Friday is Wear it Purple Day, a day to show LGBTQ+ young people that they have the right to be proud of who they are. 75 percent of LGBTIQ+ youth in Australia will be bullied because of their identity and 80% will experience it at school. Because of this, LGBTIQ+ youth are up to 12x more likely to experience depression and up to 5x more likely to experience anxiety. That a alone seems a very clear reason to pop on something purple this Friday to show your support.
We encourage organisations and individuals alike to read ‘I voted Yes, what’s next’ in detail and think purposefully about how they can next bring LGBTQ+ allyship actively to life for their organisation, and queer colleagues, friends, and family.