SAMPLE GREEK ALLY TRAINING OUTLINE
The training should be at least two hours in length (it can be divided into two sections if preferred). It should be facilitated by a campus professional staff member and/or trained peer educators who are knowledgeable about LGBT issues. If a campus has a Safe Zones program, Greek Ally can participate in the program’s general ally training, followed by a session on how to apply the concepts with the Greek community. As part of the training, consider incorporating a panel of LGBT students or recent alumni (including Greek-affiliated members if possible).
- Ice Breaker Activity
- Review of the Mission of Greek Ally Program
- Diagram of Sex, Gender & Sexuality
- Terminology List – good method of presenting this is to create a game or quiz where participants match terms with definitions
- Identity Development Models
- Quick Overview of Current LGBT Issues (marriage equality, employment discrimination, bullying in schools, homeless youth, etc.)
LGBT Issues in Fraternities and Sororities
- GLB Fraternity Sorority Member Experiences Research
- Greek Ally Case Studies
Ally Skill Development
- Stages of Becoming an Ally
- Active Listening and Communication Skills
- Bystander Intervention
- How to Support a Brother/Sister Who Comes Out
- Campus Resources (LGBT Resource Center, Counseling Center, Public Safety, etc.)
- Local LGBT Organizations and Agencies
- National Organizations (Campus Pride, HRC, NGLTF, GLSEN, GLAAD, PFLAG, Trevor Project, etc.)
- Lambda 10 website
- Books: Out on Fraternity Row, Secret Sisters, and Brotherhood
- Questions, Answers, and Discussion
- Sign a Greek Ally Commitment Form
GENERAL TIPS FOR ALLIES
- Understand your own values and feelings concerning LGBT issues.
- Understand your own culture, socialization, prejudices, and privileges.
- Respect the religious or spiritual beliefs of others and don’t attempt to impose your beliefs on others. If you come from a religious background that teaches that homosexuality and gender variance are sinful, be willing to consider other interpretations of the teachings of your faith.
- Use inclusive, non-gender speciﬁc language (e.g. “partner” or “date”) that does not assume heterosexuality in others. Use inclusive language in conversation and also in written materials.
- Educate yourself on LGBT issues. Learn and use correct terminology.
- Do not assume that everyone you meet is heterosexual and/or cisgender.
- Take care to refer to people, especially transgender individuals, by the names and pronouns they prefer. If in doubt, ask. Likewise, use their preferred title for their spouse or partner.
- Assume that in every setting there are likely LGBT people, some of whom are wondering how safe the setting is. Provide safety by making your support clear.
- Be a good listener. Ask people about their experience without presuming what their responses will be. Allow a person to lead the direction of the conversation and make their own choices.
- Avoid the urge to make an out LGBT person a “spokesperson” for all LGBT people.
- Respect conﬁdentiality at all times. Never “out” people; only disclose the sexual orientation or gender identity of others if given clear permission to do so. Many LGBT people are out to different degrees (maybe to their friends, but not to their parents; or out to people at work, but not to their church). Inadvertently outing someone can be harmful and even dangerous. On the other hand, don’t assume that their sexual orientation or gender identity is “secret” that they want hidden. If in doubt, however, always err on the side of non-disclosure.
- If someone has not come out to you, don’t assume the person doesn’t trust you. They just may not be ready to be open about their orientation or identity.
- Talk with and learn from LGBT friends, classmates, teachers, advisors, colleagues, relatives and co-workers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you don’t understand. Be reassuring and ask how you can support them.
- Invite the partners of your LGBT friends and colleagues to social events and other activities, just as you would for any other friend’s partner.
- Provide correct information when you hear myths and misperceptions about LGBT people.
- Respond appropriately to homophobic or transphobic remarks and jokes.
- Read local and LGBT publications and/or visit LGBT websites (e.g., www.advocate.com)
- Talk with friends informally and openly about LGBT events or issues in the news. Mention LGBT family or friends you might have.
- If people jump to the conclusions regarding your sexual orientation or gender identity, resist the temptation to treat the assumption as an accusation or as something that must be denied.
- Wear or display an ally button, poster or sticker, for example a rainbow themed “Respect Diversity” poster or Human Rights Campaign equality logo bumper sticker.
- Become involved in a Safe Zones and/or Ally training if offered on your campus.
- Attend campus LGBT events and activities and local LGBT Pride parades and festivals.
- Become familiar with the resources available from Lambda 10
- Know when and how to refer someone to outside help and to get professional adult intervention when necessary.
- Don’t proceed with an interaction if personal boundaries or safety have been violated.
- Realize that you don’t have to know all the answers and you don’t have to “fix” everything.
- Risk discomfort, and take risks to learn and grow as a person. It’s okay to make mistakes if you learn from them.
HOW TO SUPPORT LGBT FRATERNITY BROTHERS AND SORORITY SISTERS
- Listen and keep an open mind. Ask questions. Be honest about your feelings and be willing to learn.
- Respect the privacy of LGBT members. Allow them to make their own decisions on how, when and with whom to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Ask LGBT members how you can support them.
- Don’t make assumptions about members’ sexual orientation.
- Discussing LGBT topics is a way to communicate that you are open-minded.
- Refrain from ridiculing persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, such as through jokes, name-calling and displaying demeaning images or messages.
- Confront others who may ridicule or harass persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Invite a panel of LGBT students make a presentation to your chapter.
- Have members become involved in a Greek Ally program on your campus – or start one if you don’t have one.
- Stand up for LGBT members as you would for any other members.
- Don’t be worried about how other chapters on campus may respond if you have members who “come out.” Lead by example and remember that there are LGBT members in every chapter.
- Don’t treat LGBT members any differently than you would any other member – that includes holding LGBT members to the same standards.
- Make it know that same-sex dates are welcome at chapter events.
- Include nondiscrimination statements (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) in your chapter bylaws.
- During recruitment, make it clear that your chapter is inclusive and resects diversity. Let potential members know that LGBT members are welcome in your chapter.
- Understand that some LGBT members may no longer feel comfortable in the chapter after their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed. Let them know that if they choose to disaffiliate, you’ll still be their friend.
COMING OUT TIPS FOR LGBT FRATERNITY/SORORITY MEMBERS
- Develop a strategy – who will you tell first, how will you tell them, etc. Decide if it’s best for you to tell members one at a time or to tell the entire chapter at once.
- Select a comfortable time and environment.
- Find a brother/sister who will be an ally and who will support you.
- Be prepared for both acceptance and rejection.
- Realize that it may take members time to feel comfortable about having an openly LGBT member. Be patient.
- Let members know that you welcome their questions.