At Illinois State University, a Queer Allyship Learning Community has been developed to work toward making campus more inclusive, supportive and affirming for LGBTQIA+ students and colleagues. Faculty and staff “document what they do in their classrooms and other campus spaces while increasing their knowledge of evidence-based practices,” according to University News. “The Queer Allyship Learning Community is about figuring out what allyship looks like on campus and what it could look like, and seeing how folks may use that differently in their diverse campus roles,” said David Giovagnoli, a Center for Integrated Professional Development coordinator who facilitates the group.
“This group will consider classroom praxis, course design, and broader university-wide initiatives, and welcomes all instructors and staff interested in growing as queer allies,” said the program’s website. This fall, learning community members are reading Affirming LGBTQ+ Students in Higher Education and discussing it. “This is meant to open up those conversations and bring more voices,” Giovagnoli said.
He’s trying to get participants to think more about intersectionality and how individual identity categories influence experiences. “Allyship is not just being tolerant or allowing someone to exist. Allyship is taking active steps to advocate for affirmation and change,” Giovagnoli said. “One of the things we agreed on during our first meeting of the learning community was that we don’t just want to learn about these issues, we want to translate that learning into action. What those actions will look like is different for everyone in that group, but we’re also considering what we can do as a group together.”