Allies & Advocates

Jackson & Hardiman Social Identity Development

Knowing your own process of awareness not only helps you to better understand yourself, but also to understand others in their process of developing. The following model is based on the Jackson and Hardiman Social Identity Development Model (Broido, 2000) and applied to being an ally for GLBT people.


No understanding that same-sex affection, love, and physical attractions can occur or be valued.

STAGE TWO - Acceptance

Passive Acceptance - A person unconsciously identifies with and accepts the dominant group's (or majority) views; denies existence of oppression and/or blames GLBT people for their condition. People in this group unconsciously act on and propagate stereotypes and discrimination against GLBT people.

Active Acceptance - A person consciously identifies with the majority's views and accepts the privilege inherent with being heterosexual. People in this group consciously act on and propagate stereotypes and discrimination against GLBT people.

STAGE THREE - Resistance

People enter resistance as they begin to learn more about or encounter GLBT people and consciously question the majority view and privilege. People begin to recognize oppression, injustice, and discrimination resulting from homophobia and heterosexism. In this stage, people experience a wide variety of feelings - anger, shame, rage, and impotence. It is also a stage where people actively work to learn about the GLBT culture and begin to challenge homophobic comments and jokes.

Passive Resistance - Often the person feels overwhelmed by the problem and incapable of action. They at least try to not perpetuate the oppression. 

Active Resistance - People in this group are actively and deliberately confronting social norms and individual's behaviors. They may actively become part of advocacy groups or disassociate from others in the majority group who are perpetuating oppression and discrimination.

STAGE FOUR - Redefinition

In this stage, heterosexual allies return to examining their own identity. Realizing there are ways to be a members of the dominant group other than just as an oppressor, they begin to ask themselves, "who am I?" People seek out other like-minded individuals and non-oppressive ways to use their privilege. A new pride in being heterosexual can be developed as an understanding is reached about the inner-relatedness of all types of oppression.

STAGE FIVE - Internalization

During this stage, the new identity carved out in stage four becomes more grounded and integrated, requiring less effort. Understanding majority group privilege and its impact on all aspects of a person's like helps that person to expand their work into all areas of oppression. (Hardiman stated that very few people actually reach this level of development.)

Source: K. Poynter, Western Michigan University

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Page last modified March 4, 2014