An ally, by definition, is one in helpful association with
another, according to The American Heritage College Dictionary.
An ally pledges his or her support for a person, group or cause,
and in doing so, promises to be there through action.
It is on this principle that the new Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender Ally program is centered. Founders Lauren Hick, Irina
Krauchenka, Matthew McClurg and GLBT Student Services staff member
Xanthe Kilzer have built the program based on tolerance.
“We want to create a more accepting environment on campus where
everyone is equal,” Kilzer said. “If people know other people are
allies, it might help them to become allies themselves.”
The program has attracted between 65 to 70 members in just more
than one month of operation.
“There wasn’t a place for allies on campus and every other
campus has one,” said Hicks, who originally came up with the idea.
“I just wanted to get to know other allies and help promote
Other Colorado campuses that have programs similar to Allies
include the University of Colorado, Adams State College,
Metropolitan State College of Denver and the Community College of
Denver. There are also dozens of Ally programs around the
As an ally, members must agree to a code of conduct with five
major points. The first principle is to not discriminate against
people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race,
age, disability, national origin or other such factors. Allies also
must promote and maintain a safe campus, community and world for
everyone, placing special emphasis on helping the GLBT
Allies also promise to honor confidentiality and the privacy of
others, value equality and tolerance and respect everyone.
Matt Harris, a sophomore civil engineering major, became an ally
because he has friends in the GLBT community.
“I thought it would be a good way to show my support,” Harris
said. “I want to participate in getting information about the
community out to the public and disseminate that to eliminate all
the misconceptions about GLBT people.”
Harris’ concerns lie in society’s views on people who are seen
“I believe that the cultural, ethnic and sexual textiles which
makes each of us unique should be celebrated, not profaned,” Harris
said. “For too long society has been foreshadowed by a common
prejudice that interprets difference as a deficiency of humanity.
It must be recognized that what identifies us as individuals
ultimately cannot obscure the quality that we all share as human
Harris, along with other allies, will carry out his duty not
only by advocating recognition of the GLBT community, but also by
developing good relationships with GLBT community members.
“I fulfill my promises as an ally through compassion and
edification. I am here to provide personal support for GLBT
individuals and promoting awareness to the public,” Harris said. “I
am not here to question anyone’s beliefs, but merely to provide
them with information about the lives and the social conditions of
Allies will be taking part in Transgender, Bisexual, Gay,
Lesbian Awareness Days (T’BGLAD) today through April 18 as a way to
spread its message. The Allies will be hosting an information
session on Tuesday at noon in rooms 203-205 of the Lory Student
Center. T’BGLAD is a program designed specifically for raising
awareness of the GBLT community by offering a wide variety of
events, including multiple speeches from GLBT individuals, a
spiritual panel, a game called “guess the gay,” a drag show and a
GLBT community dinner.
Jane Hickey, who became an ally at a Student Organization of
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender meeting about a month ago,
became an ally after living with two members of the GLBT
“Living with my roommates totally opened my eyes to the issues
that the GLBT community faces and the realization that it can’t
just be them fighting those injustices,” Hickey said. “You have to
help by having straight people to help facilitate those
Hick and Kilzer have designed programs to help allies carry out
their promises through different steps. The first step is awareness
and accessing resources.
“We have GLBT share their experiences so allies can become aware
of the community and discover their own stance,” Kilzer said.
Another step is to educate the allies with knowledge of GLBT
facts, statistics, culture and laws.
“Once we educate ourselves, we can go out and educate others,”
The program’s effectiveness is not a question for Hickey, but
when the effects will be seen remains questionable.
“It starts out small, but in the long term it could make a
difference. Short term, it could be really discouraging,” Hickey
said. “There are always going to be people who are not going to
change their minds, but if just two or three people come to a
meeting and are influenced and can see that GLBT individuals are
normal people just like everyone else, that is making a difference.
I think that the only way to influence people is exposure to the
With GLBT issues continually becoming more and more
controversial in American society, allies realize that their job
will not always be easy.
“I am readily aware that there exists a great deal of ardor and
conflict in the issues that we are presenting and that a certain
degree of vehemence can be encountered while we are trying to do
our job,” Harris said. “If I were ever confronted by such a
circumstance, I would no doubt be frustrated, but I would try to
recognize the opinions of my antithetical counterparts and race
them with reason.
In order to become an ally, people can go to the GLBTSS office
for more information and to sign up for the group’s listserv.
“We want to create social change by changing attitudes,” Hick
Box: The Ally program holds meetings every other Thursday at 6
p.m. in room 103 in the Eddy Building. It also meets every other
Wednesday with SOGLBT at 6 p.m. in room 207 of the Lory Student