What is an Ally?
One definition of an ‘Ally’ is someone who helps and supports someone else. An Ally Program sets out to develop a visible network of empathetic people who are allies of students and staff identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual or intersex (GLBTI) – i.e. those belonging to a sexual or gender minority. Any UOW staff member or student can be an Ally, whether or not they identify as GLBTI.
Allies are not experts about matters of sexuality and gender identity. They are people who support the University’s values of ‘Mutual respect and collegiality’, ‘Diversity of cultures, ideas and peoples’ and ‘Equity and social justice’. The University of Wollongong is a place where all people can expect to study and work safely, free from discrimination, harassment or vilification.
An Ally understands the reasons why many people from sexual or gender minorities are not always in a position to speak out on their own behalf or may be fearful of being harassed or discriminated against.
What do Allies do?
Allies have an identifying Ally sticker or poster on their door or on display in their workspace when they are present. Allies are informed, caring people who provide a point of contact for people who identify as GLBTI. They can provide a safe and respectful environment for people to raise issues, ask questions and share information with GLBTI colleagues and students. They will connect people to appropriate resources and will not take on roles for which they are not trained (such as counselling).
Allies undertake this voluntary role knowing that their contribution helps make the University of Wollongong a better place to work and study for everyone.