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Lessons in Allyship

We caught up with some experts to get advice on how to better support the LGBTQ+ community.
Michelle and Shane

As we close out Pride Month, we are highlighting two former and current Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC) staff members who are providing educational support for those who are looking to practice good allyship and better support the LGBTQ+ community here on campus and beyond.

Interested in learning more about how to become an Ally? Visit the Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC) website to learn how to get started. You can also find a comprehensive listing of services, reading materials, language guides and more on the GSC’s resources page.

Michelle Ramirez GSC education coordinator
Meet GSC Education Coordinator Michelle Ramirez, who brings years of student advocacy experience and expertise in social work to their educational offerings, including the Allies in Action program. Their goal with the GSC’s Allies in Action program is to help members of the Longhorn community build welcoming and inclusive environments for people who are gender diverse.

“One of the biggest workshops we offer at the GSC is the Ally Toolkit Series, which are two-part trainings that give people a deeper understanding of the LGBTQ+ experience,” Ramirez says. “You also learn the importance of using affirming language, pronouns and making sure we’re being thoughtful in our actions. These interactive workshops help people learn and understand why it’s important to be respectful and inclusive.”

In this short video, we asked the UT Austin alum (BSW, MSSW, School of Social Work ’15, ’19) to share their perspective on good allyship.

Shane Whalley Pride Month 2023

Meet Shane Whalley, an adjunct assistant professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and owner of Daring Dialogues Consulting. An expert in Ally training, Whalley helps businesses and nonprofits build more inclusive and welcoming environments for all employees and the communities they serve. A proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Ze has been making a big impact on campus as a social justice educator for decades.

“In social justice work, which hopefully most of us are doing on some level, we must do it as a community,” says Whalley, who is a UT Austin alum (MSW, ’03) and former staff member of the GSC. “Rather than burdening one person to do the training and communication, this work needs to be carried out by the entire community. That’s why I do these workshops, so nonprofits and organizations can train their staff to do the work.”

In this video clip, we asked Whalley to share some insight into what a thriving queer community looks like.

More About the Gender & Sexuality Center

Located on the second floor of the William C. Powers, Jr. Building (suite 2.112), the Gender and Sexuality Center is an inclusive space on campus that’s dedicated to women and LGBTQIA+ communities. Home to several student advocacy groups, the center works to serve and support the university community through education, outreach and advocacy.