The definition I feel really encompasses, provided by my university’s LGBTQ Center defines an ally as someone who:
- Believes that it is in their self-interest to be an ally to LGBTQ individuals
- is committed to developing an understanding of LGBTQ issues and works to be comfortable with their knowledge of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression
- Works to understand how patterns of oppression operate, is willing to identify oppressive acts, and challenges the oppressive behaviors of others to all oppressed groups
- Finds ways to confront and combat homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, cissexism, and heterosexism
- Chooses to align with LGBTQ individuals and represents their needs — especially when they are unable to do so themselves
- Promotes a sense of community with LGBTQ individuals and teaches others about the importance of these communities
- Encourages others to advocate for the LGBTQ community
While this definition is fine and great, being an ally is challenging, as I pointed on here. Another thing about allyship, is that it is an identity, the identity of an ally. In the same way that one has a gender and sexual identity, an ally is another identity one can take one.
Finally, and I think there is a lot misconceptions about this: straight allies. Yes, people who don’t identify as LGBTQ are often know as allies. But remember: You can be an ally if you identity within the LGBTQ Community.