Allies: What Are They Good For?

Beau K. Charles, Gettysburg College

Surge is a student blog at Gettysburg College where systemic issues of justice matter. Posts are originally published at Through stories and reflection, these blog entries relate personal experiences to larger issues of equity, demonstrating that –isms are structural problems, not actions defined by individual prejudice. We intend to popularize justice, helping each other to recognize our biases and unlearn the untruths.


Following the exposure of An Oppression, the well-meaning ask: “What can I do to be a good ally?”

The word ally does not resonate with me. As a queer, I have had supposed-allies threaten me with the revocation of their alliance if I did not comply with their demands or if I questioned their actions; use their alliance as a way to co-opt queer experiences; divert and control arguments; and invade queer-specific spaces. The offering of the “identity” ally occurs conditionally. In my case, the topic at hand must focus on The Gays to remind people to remind me that they are on my side. [excerpt]