Be a listener.
Be willing to talk.
Be inclusive and invite LGBT friends to hang out with your friends and family.
Don't assume that all your friends and acquaintances are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.
Homophobic comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.
Be open about having gay friends, family or acquaintances that you value, respect, and are grateful to have in your life. When you talk about them, don’t omit the fact that they are GLBT.
Call, write, e-mail, or visit public policy makers and let them know that as a straight person who votes, you support laws that extend equal rights and protections to all people.
Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
Become informed about the realities, challenges and issues affecting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people’s lives through websites, books, documentaries, and educational materials.
Use the words “gay” and “lesbian” instead of “homosexual.” The overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians do not identify with or use the word “homosexual” to describe themselves.
Use non-gender specific language. Ask “Are you seeing someone?” or “Are you in a committed relationship?,” instead of “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” Use the word “partner” or “significant other” instead of “boyfriend/girlfriend.”
Give visibility to LGBT issues, concerns and experiences in your family, school, workplace, religious community, and neighborhood. You can show your support by posting signs in your room or workplace and even on networking website.
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Living without ever having to think twice, face, confront, engage, or cope with anything on this page. Heterosexuals can address these phenomena by social/political forces do not require you to do so.
Legal marriage includes the following privileges:
Public recognition and support for an intimate relationship
Celebration of your commitment to another with gifts, cards, and congratulations from others
Supported activities and social expectations of longevity and stability for your committed relationships
Paid leave from employment and condolences when grieving the death of your partner/lover (i.e. legal members defined by marriage and descendants from marriages)
Inheriting from your partner/lover/companion automatically under probate laws
Sharing health, auto, and homeowners' insurance policies at reduced rates
Immediate access to your loved ones in cases of accident or emergency
Family-of-origin support for a life partner/lover/companion
Increased possibilities for getting a job, receiving on the job training and promotion
Kissing/hugging/being affectionate in public without threat or punishment
Talking about your relationship or what projects, vacations, family planning you and your partner/lover are creating
Not questioning your normalcy, sexually and culturally
Expressing pain when a relationship ends and having other people notice and attend to your pain
Adopting children, foster-parenting children
Being employed as a teacher in pre-school through high school without fear of being fired any day because you are assumed to corrupt children
Raising children without threats of state intervention, without children having to be worried which of their friends might reject them because of their parent's sexuality and culture
Dating the person of your desire in your teen years
Living with your partner and doing so openly to all
Receiving validation from your religious community
Receiving social acceptance by neighbors, colleagues, new friends
Not having to hide and lie about same-sex social events
Working without always being identified by your sexuality/culture (e.g. you get to be a farmer, brick layer, artist, etc. without being labeled the heterosexual farmer, the heterosexual teacher)
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Homophobia/biphobia/transphobia takes many different forms, including physical acts of hate, violence, verbal assault, vandalism or blatant discrimination such as firing an employee, evicting someone from their housing or denying them access to public accommodations. There are many other kinds of homophobia/biphobia/transphobia and heterosexism that happen every day. We often overlook these more subtle actions and exclusions because they seem so insignificant by comparison. They are not.
Looking at an LGBT person and automatically thinking of her/his sexuality or gender rather than seeing her/him as a whole, complex person.
Failing to be supportive when your LGBT friend is sad about a quarrel or breakup.
Changing your seat in a meeting because an LGBT person sat in the chair next to yours.
Thinking you can spot one.
Using the terms "lesbian" or "gay" as accusatory.
Not asking about a woman's female lover or a man's male lover although you regularly ask "How is your husband/wife?" when you run into a heterosexual friend.
Thinking that a lesbian (if you are female) or gay man (if you are male) is making sexual advances if she/he touches you.
Feeling repulsed by public displays of affection between lesbians and gay men but accepting the same affectional displays between heterosexuals.
Feeling that LGBT people are too outspoken about civil rights.
Feeling that discussions about homophobia are not necessary since you are "okay" on these issues.
Assuming that everyone you meet is heterosexual.
Feeling that a lesbian is just a woman who couldn't find a man or that a lesbian is a woman who wants to be a man.
Feeling that a gay man is just a man who couldn't find a woman or that a gay man is a man who wants to be a woman.
Not confronting a homophobic remark for fear of being identified with or as LGBT.
Worrying about the effect an LGBT volunteer/co-worker will have on your work or your clients.
Asking your LGBT colleagues to speak about LGBT issues, but not about other issues about which they may be knowledgeable.
Focusing exclusively on someone's sexual orientation and not on other issues of concern.
Being afraid to ask questions about LGBT issues when you don't know the answers.
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Object to and eliminate jokes and humor that put down or portray LGBT people in stereotypical ways.
Counter statements about sexual orientation or gender identity that are not relevant to decisions or evaluations being made about faculty, staff, or students.
Invite "out" professionals to conduct seminars and provide guest lectures in your classes and offices. Invite them for both LGBT topics and other topics of their expertise.
Do not force LGBT people out of the closet nor come out for them to others. The process of coming out is one of enlarging a series of concentric circles of those who know. Initially the process should be in control of the individual until (and if) they consider it public knowledge.
Don't include sexual orientation information in letters of reference or answer specific or implied questions without first clarifying how "out" the person chooses to be in the specific process in question. Because your environment may be safe does not mean that all environments are safe.
Recruit and hire "out' LGBT staff and faculty. View sexual orientation as a positive form of diversity that is desired in a multicultural setting. Always question job applicants about their ability to work with LGBT faculty, staff, and students.
Do not refer all LGBT issues to LGBT staff/faculty. Do not assume their only expertise is LGBT issues. Check with staff about their willingness to consult on LGBT issues with other staff members.
Be sensitive to issues of oppression and appreciate the strength and struggle it takes to establish a positive LGBT identity. Provide nurturing support to colleagues and students in phases of that process.
Be prepared. If you truly establish a safe and supportive environment, people that you never thought of will begin to share their personal lives and come out in varying degrees. Secretaries, maintenance personnel, former students, and professional colleagues will respond to the new atmosphere. Ten percent is a lot of people.
View the creation of this environment as a departmental or agency responsibility, not the responsibility of individual persons who happen to be LGBT. Always waiting for them to speak, challenge, or act, adds an extra level of responsibility to someone who is already dealing with oppression on many levels.Citation: Adapted by Buhrke & Douce, 1991.
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