Bridging Authenticity: The Transformative Power of Allyship

June 2024 | By Sophia Cole

Since our Pride Month series is all about prompting more open conversations about LGBTQIA+ allyship, I took the opportunity to interview my colleague Brian Cole about his allyship journey. Not only is Brian my colleague, but he is also my dad, so it was powerful to address how features of allyship show up across our shared work, home, and social spaces. Together, we talked about defining allyship, getting better at it, and responding to misconceptions about the LGBTQIA+ community. 

 

Pride 3

 

The Heart of Allyship 

Brian and I care about how allyship is more than just a trendy term. It’s about, as Brian put it, “creating an environment where people actually do feel included enough to be their authentic self.” We visualized allyship as a bridge to a place where everyone can be open and honest about who they are. When we embrace allyship, we’re not just helping folks do their best work; we’re helping them feel awesome while doing it. Without the weight of hiding who they are, people can truly shine and grow. We emphasized how being an ally is about always making sure the LGBTQAI+ community feels safe, welcomed, and valued, as our colleague Lisa discussed here 

 

Allyship In Action 

We were careful not to ignore how in many cases, as Brian said, “people simply don’t know how to talk about allyship.” Embracing the role of an ally requires not just practice, but a dedication to continual learning. “An important starting point,” Brian noted, “is asking good questions, but also really being curious and listening to the answers versus looking for confirmation of what we think, or letting bias get in the way.” We agreed that one of the best ways to be an ally is to simply “be willing to listen,” as explored here. This willingness goes hand-in-hand with what Brian called “treating everybody decent.” While this might sound simple, it is not always common practice.   

 

Combating Misconceptions  

Being an ally means we’re bound to encounter those who have misconceptions about the LGBTQIA+ community, so Brian and I talked about preparing for these instances, especially through tough conversations. He acknowledged that tackling misconceptions depends on “having some courage.” Summoning the confidence to call out others is a huge first step. The next step, which is the hardest and most important, is “challenging others when you hear their misconceptions.” By doing this, we’re not just standing up for what’s right, but we’re also nudging people to learn a bit more, or to “do some homework” on the Queer community.  Brian explained that open conversations become possible when we encourage folks with misconceptions to “talk to people and have an open mind.” And that’s how change starts: one open conversation at a time.  

 

Conclusion  

Allyship isn't about perfection; it's about intention and action. It requires us to be proactive in our support, to educate ourselves continually, and to advocate for marginalized voices. By normalizing conversations around allyship and challenging ourselves and others to do better, we can create more inclusive spaces where everyone can thrive. 

In essence, allyship is a powerful tool for social change—one open conversation at a time, one just action at a time. 

By embracing allyship, and what it takes to keep becoming a better ally, we embrace humanity in its fullest. 

Topics: Team Culture, Culture

Sophia Cole

Written by Sophia Cole