In today’s evolving social landscape, the importance of being an ally to the LGBTQ community has never been clearer. For local businesses, embracing LGBTQ allyship is not only the right thing to do—it’s also good for business. This blog post will explore what it means to be a true ally, draw a distinction between genuine allyship and performative allyship, and illustrate how supporting the LGBTQ community can enhance your business.

What is LGBTQ Allyship?

Being an LGBTQ ally involves actively supporting and advocating for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ individuals. It means standing against discrimination and fostering an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels safe and valued. True allyship is about more than just acceptance; it is about actively promoting equality and understanding within your business and the wider community.

True Allyship vs. Performative Allyship

While many businesses strive to show support for the LGBTQ community, it’s essential to differentiate between true allyship and performative allyship.

True Allyship:

  • Education and Awareness: True allies educate themselves about LGBTQ issues and stay informed about the challenges faced by the community.
  • Active Support: This involves implementing inclusive policies, supporting LGBTQ organizations, and creating a safe environment for LGBTQ employees and customers.
  • Consistency: Genuine allies consistently demonstrate their support through actions, not just during Pride Month or other LGBTQ-specific events.
  • Listening and Amplifying Voices: True allies listen to LGBTQ voices and amplify them, ensuring that the community’s needs and concerns are heard and addressed.

Performative Allyship:

  • Surface-Level Actions: Performative allies may display rainbow flags or change their social media profiles during Pride Month but fail to take substantive actions to support the LGBTQ community.
  • Lack of Commitment: This type of allyship often lacks long-term commitment and genuine engagement with LGBTQ issues.
  • Tokenism: Performative allyship can involve using LGBTQ individuals for marketing purposes without truly supporting their rights and well-being.

Why Being an LGBTQ Ally is Good for Business

  1. Enhanced Reputation and Customer Loyalty: Businesses that demonstrate genuine support for the LGBTQ community build a positive reputation and foster loyalty among customers who value inclusivity and equality. This can lead to increased customer retention and positive word-of-mouth.
  2. Attracting Talent: An inclusive workplace attracts a diverse pool of talent. LGBTQ individuals and allies are more likely to seek employment with businesses that prioritize equality and respect. A diverse team brings a wealth of perspectives and ideas, driving innovation and success.
  3. Employee Satisfaction and Productivity: When employees feel valued and respected, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. Inclusive policies and a supportive environment contribute to higher job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a positive workplace culture.
  4. Market Reach: Supporting the LGBTQ community can expand your market reach. The LGBTQ community, along with their allies, represents a significant and growing consumer base. Businesses that align with their values can tap into this market and drive growth.
  5. Community Impact: By being a true ally, businesses can positively impact the broader community. Supporting LGBTQ rights and inclusion helps create a more equitable and just society, benefiting everyone.

How to Be a True LGBTQ Ally in Your Business

  1. Educate Yourself and Your Team: Provide training and resources on LGBTQ issues, ensuring that everyone in your business understands the importance of inclusivity and respect.
  2. Implement Inclusive Policies: Review and update your policies to ensure they are inclusive of all employees and customers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes anti-discrimination policies, benefits for same-sex partners, and support for transgender employees.
  3. Support LGBTQ Organizations: Partner with local LGBTQ organizations and participate in community events. This demonstrates your commitment and provides valuable support to those working on the front lines of LGBTQ advocacy.
  4. Create a Safe Space: Foster a workplace culture where everyone feels safe and supported. Encourage open dialogue, provide resources for LGBTQ employees, and ensure that discrimination and harassment are not tolerated.
  5. Amplify LGBTQ Voices: Give LGBTQ individuals a platform to share their experiences and perspectives. This can involve featuring LGBTQ voices in your marketing, supporting LGBTQ-led initiatives, and promoting LGBTQ talent within your organization.

By embracing true LGBTQ allyship, businesses can make a meaningful difference in the lives of LGBTQ individuals while also reaping significant benefits. It’s a win-win scenario that strengthens your business and contributes to a more inclusive and equitable community. Let’s commit to being true allies, not just in words but in actions, and work together to create a better future for all.


Joseph Lyttle serves as the Executive Director of Fredericksburg Area Health and Support Services (FAHASS) which operates Pride Center FXBG and the Mosaic Care Center. He has 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector serving LGBTQ and minority populations. To find out more information on LGBTQ trainings or other services, visit