First You Stand out, then You Stand up: Becoming an Ally for the LGBT Community


This paper addresses one of the ways that counselors and teachers in schools can address the homoprejudices and homophobia that many of their heterosexual students have towards the LGBT community. We describe a classroom exercise that allows heterosexual students to achieve understanding and empathy and stand up for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community. This exercise was administered to university students in an upper division course who were given the choice of volunteering to wear a Pink Triangle pin for one week. The Pink Triangle, originally worn by gays during the World War two Holocaust, has become a symbol of gay liberation. The students recorded their experiences and feelings throughout the course of their pin-wearing. Results for this blue-collar, mostly female and non-white population, indicate key shifts in understanding oppressions that queer youth face every day. In addition to their increased awareness, students committed to become allies by taking action to fight for social justice. A description of the educational assignment is provided so that counselors, teachers, and other educators can elect to increase the understanding of their heterosexual students and to create a safe space for the dialogue between all students, regardless of their identities.

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Dhillon, M. , Rabow, J. , Moore, J. & Vega, Y. (2013). First You Stand out, then You Stand up: Becoming an Ally for the LGBT Community. Sociology Mind, 3, 333-338. doi: 10.4236/sm.2013.34045.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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