Allies & Advocates
Suggestions for Working with LGBT Students
- Don't be surprised when someone comes out to you.
- Respect confidentiality. It is imperative that you can be trusted.
- Be informed. Most of us are products of a homophobic society. It is important that you are aware of the needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.
- Examine your own biases. If you are uncomfortable dealing with the issue and know that you are unable to be open and accepting, you need to refer the student to someone else.
- Know when and where to keep help. Know all available resources at the national, state, local, and campus level.
- Maintain a balanced perspective. Sexual thoughts and feelings are only a small (but important) part of a person's self.
- Understand the meaning of "sexual orientation." Each person's sexual orientation is natural to that person.
- Deal with feelings first. You can be helpful by just listening and allowing a lesbian, gay, or bisexual student the opportunity to vent feelings.
- Help, but don't force. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual students to move at the pace they feel most comfortable with.
- Be supportive. Share with them that this is an issue that others must deal with too.
- Don't try to guess who's gay.
- Challenge bigoted remarks and jokes. This shows support.
Source: Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Page last modified December 22, 2010