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Being an Ally

Posted February 23rd, 2011 by cws_mcqu

An ally is a person who identifies within a dominant identity, yet chooses to aid or fight alongside those who identify with subordinate identities. An example of what an identity can be is how I identify as being a white, straight, male. Those are all examples of dominant identities and the supplement subordinate identities would be a person of color, gay, and female. I now consider myself an ally to all subordinate identities, even though in the past I didn’t give my support.

It seems like being an ally would be relatively simple. Yet, the last two years of my life have not always been the easiest. I figured once I started calling myself an ally and begun working with other groups I was making a change. However, I realized that I had to change within myself first. I had multiple discussions and time alone to work through my thoughts to try and realize what it really means to oppress and to be oppressed.

I began working with a vast amount of amazing individuals who guided me through what I would consider a journey to becoming an ally. I was lucky to not have people give up in trying to open my eyes to the truth, and to stop ignoring the wrongs in my views. I remember times where my words could shut a person down or offend, which was not my intention at all. I still experience times where someone feels they can judge me fully by me just standing in front of them. It would have been so easy to give up in those times and throw in the towel. I could have just turned my back on being an ally, but I couldn’t stop once I had started. The times of people giving me a hug simply because I was accepting their identity or being able for the first time in my life to witness people from all backgrounds being comfortable with me in the room, fueled my passion. I have never in my life felt that being an accepted ally would have ever been so fulfilling. I can’t believe the amount of people who have become my friends through my experiences of being an ally. I have met some of the most amazing people, who have truly changed my life.

As many of you may be allies or working to become one, I have only one suggestion. Never allow yourself to get beaten down to the point of quitting, because I guarantee that the positive experiences will by far outweigh the negative. Being an ally isn’t easy, it wasn’t meant to be. If it was easy more people would be them. We have a lot to work for in our society to reach equity for all, and it will take many more to become allies. Just remember that to be an ally you will have to understand your own identities before you can ever begin to understand others.

Kevin Rodemack

Community Relations Facilitator – Westside Quad

The comments shared by the Community Relations Facilitator program are strictly the point of view from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of UHDS. If this article has inspired a desire to dialogue, the author, or another CRF and/or any Resident Assistant, Resident Director or CoOp Director would be happy to participate. Please contact Nina Gassoway ( to assist in making arrangements.

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