Humans of GOTAFE
Daniel Gardner: How to be a good ally to the LGBTIQ+ community
What is your name and role at GOTAFE?
Daniel Gardner, Coordinator Diversity and Inclusion
What does being an ally mean to you?
There’s a lot of impact in the simple act of kindness. I identify as a gay cis-gendered man; however, I take each opportunity to show support and be an ally to other members of the LGBTIQ+ community where I don’t have lived experience. Making a person feel they still belong doesn’t take much, just allowing people to be themselves freely without judgement or negativity can have a much larger impact than we realise.
I see myself as an ally to bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer folks, including asexual and pansexual identifying people in many ways.
How can we be a good ally?
Doing the simple things such as attending awareness training and events, join the GOPROUD network for LGBTIQ+ identifying staff and allies, consuming LGBTIQ+ media, being aware of the issues that might be affecting the LGBTIQ+ communities and being a visible ally in the workplace and at schools.
How can we approach the use of a persons pronouns in conversation?
Language is powerful and small changes can make a huge difference to the 11 per cent of people that identify as LGBTIQ+. For example, offering pronouns when introducing yourself, trying to use gender neutral language when addressing a crowd – instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘guys’ why not ‘folks’ or ‘everyone’.
How can an ally help create a safe space for someone who identifies as LGBTIQ+?
Respectfully challenge commonly held views with facts and use it as an opportunity for education. For example:
- Responding to comments like “we don’t have a problem or why are we focusing on this” with facts around LGBTIQ+ people poor mental health statistics compared to non-LGBTIQ+ people.
- Responding to comments around “sexuality doesn’t belong at work” with simple myth busters that speaking of your partners gender gives away your sexuality and that does absolutely belong in the workplace.
- When someone says something that can be constituted as inappropriate, bullying or harassing – not laughing and simply saying or showing disagreement.