By Karin Patiño
On Oct. 11, CSU Bakersfield’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Group held its 9th Annual Ally Rally as part of celebrating pride week. The Ally Rally is an event centered on ways to provide support for the LGBTQ+ community and ways to become an ally.
The Ally Rally took place on the same day as National Coming Out Day. Over 100 people attended the rally in the Stockdale Room.
“The point of the Ally Rally is to debunk myths and clarify things about the LGBTQ+ community,” said Anne Duran, psychology professor and psychology department chair at CSUB.
Duran introduced the panelists for the evening. They included Ike Duran, past president of the Bakersfield chapter of PFLAG, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Dr. Liora Gubkin Malicdem, Unitarian Universalist Minister candidate; Michael Harville, counselor at CSUB Counseling Center and SafeZone coordinator; and Samantha Delacruz, Club GEN, Gender Equality
Duran explained The Ally Spectrum. The spectrum defines the various levels of being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. It ranges from those who are not an ally but are willing to listen to definite allies that are supportive of new laws that ensure equal rights for the gay community.
No matter where people were on the spectrum of allies, all were welcome to attend the rally and future rallies as well.
Everyone at the event received a bookmark that included “10 Ways To Be A Great Ally and A Friend” printed on it.
Some of the ways to be a supportive ally and friend included being open-minded, defending your LGBTQ+ friends against discrimination, and believing that all people should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Duran and the panelists discussed different scenarios and how to be a helpful ally during those situations. One of the scenarios was what to do if a friend comes out.
“Listen, validate and support them,” said Delacruz.
“There are very helpful people at the counseling center,” said Harville sharing a place for a helpful person to listen.
Another scenario that was discussed was what to do when a person is posting homophobic things online.
“My goal is to avoid conflict and provide education,” said Harville.
Delacruz added, “Don’t ever start [the response] with aggression. Start the conversation in an educational manner.”
The rally ended by the panelists reading the notecards the attendees received before the event began. The notecards had printed “I need an ally because…” on one side, and “I am an ally because…” printed on the other side.
One notecard said, “I am an ally because all students matter.”