UWL Learns How to be a Better Ally


Peer-Educator UWL Senior Emmett Sharp (left) and Peer-Educator UWL Junior Kadie Daniels (right) pose beneath their opening slide of the workshop.

Karley Betzler, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday night, Centennial Hall housed the first Ally Workshop of the year. The Peer-Educators welcomed the group and began their workshop. One of the beginning slides read “Safe Space Rules”. The rules included that participants should be open to new ideas and perspectives, keep other’s names and stories confidential, and respect each other’s needs, feelings, and opinions. The last rule was “assumed innocence” for those involved. The latter means that if a participant uses the wrong term when addressing something, or someone, then the group would assume that they simply didn’t know and meant no harm.

The participants went around the room and shared which Personal Gender Pronouns they identified with. The following slide showed the full initialism for the community: LGBTQQIAAP2S+. Below the initialism was a full list of which identity or orientation each letter stood for. “I love all these words,” said a member of the crowd.

Following, there was a discussion of important things to consider about gender expression. A few points mentioned that it may not always be safe for individuals to express how they identify, “Some people can’t afford to present how they’d like”, and “Gender expression is not necessarily indicative of gender identity.” UWL Junior Keaton Read explained a hope for this workshop. “I want to learn more about other identities I don’t have.” Read explained being a good ally as “being conscious of privileges you have and helping others overcome challenges and oppression.”

The Peer-Educators provided a definition of what makes a good ally: “Someone who recognizes their own array of privileges and actively works against all systems of oppression.”

The group described privilege as, “An unearned benefit given to people who fit into specific social groups.” Following this was an activity in which participants identified their privileges and discussed them with the people near them. The group discussion after highlighted that some were unaware of how many different forms of privilege they held.

The workshop also provided tips on how participants can incorporate inclusivity into their lives. These included “Being aware of the language you use” and “Actively [seeking] out ways to be a better ally to all marginalized people.”

One of the last parts of the event showcased how allies can help take action. The peer-educators explained the method of calling in, instead of calling someone out. While calling out is almost synonymous with verbally attacking an oppressor, calling in can be used to teach. The latter method can help the oppressor identify their wrongdoing by going over the issue and explaining why it’s not conducive, or even offensive, to others.

UWL Junior Kadie Daniels, Co-Chair of Rainbow Unity and Peer-Educator for the Pride Center, helped run the workshop. “An ally is someone who is actively looking for ways to better themselves and actively working to dismantle all systems of oppression. This includes being up-to-date on information concerning how to be a better ally.”

Daniels explained how UWL actively helps to support the LGBTQ+ community. “Oftentimes, professors will invite [Peer-Educators] in for panels or ally workshops, similar to this one, in order to educate their students.” Daniels elaborated by providing another example. “We as Peer-Educators are often brought in to residents halls to give Ally Workshops there. Which is fantastic.”