I see you out there, making a difference in the world. For example, when you hear a transphobic remark you speak up or you educate those around you by sharing an interesting fact that you recently read about sexuality.
Your heart is in the right place, and your passion for equality shines through, but even the best allies can still make mistakes.
Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to walk side by side with the LGBTQIA+ community and train hundreds of providers. But, if we want to continue the fight for equality, especially in healthcare, we have to be open ourselves.
You already know how important it is to apologize and change actions if you use an incorrect pronoun or name, but there are common mistakes that even the most seasoned allies make.
So get ready to take your knowledge to a whole new level and avoid these common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Adding your experience to their stories
You’re listening intently to someone’s experience, they’re sharing with you what they’ve been through and boom…you jump in with how you relate.
You’re coming from a good supportive place but adding to their story with your experience can be deflating. They are feeling safe enough to share with you what they’re going through and when you jump in and share how supportive you were when you’re cousin came out takes away from the moment.
Adding your experience while they are sharing can cause them to not feel heard or even shut down. Listen, support, and be in the moment with them, not focused on how you can relate.
Mistake #2: A lack of humility
You’ve got years of experience, a ton of people you’ve supported, and you’re an incredible ally. Regardless of what you’ve been through and what you’ve done, an ally without humility as well as willingness to keep learning can do more harm than good.
I learn something new every week, if not every day, as an ally working in the community. I will never know everything there is to know about the LGBTQIA+ community, so I’m a student, observer, and continued learner whose mission will never be complete.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know it all and have nothing to learn. As long as we’re breathing, there’s something to learn, and more work to be done.
Mistake #3: Not staying in your own lane
As an ally, it’s crucial to know when to stay in your own lane. There are many examples of when people thinking they are ‘great’ allies are actually doing harm.
A few of these types of mistakes are:
Most of the mistakes allies make are unintentional and not malicious, however, that isn’t an excuse to continue to make these again and again. You’re working hard as an ally and I know you’ll keep learning so you can better support the community.
If you’re an ally that is struggling, needs support, or want to learn more about LGBTQIA+ healthcare, make sure you sign up for my newsletter to receive free trainings, tips, and resources