Bursting with passion and humor, The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is a treasure trove for allies to the LGBTQ+ communities. This fully revised second edition includes:
The Savvy Ally is a vital resource for teachers, mental health professionals, healthcare providers, college professors, faith leaders, family members, and friends who want to support and advocate for the LGBTQ+ people in their lives and help make the world a safer, more inclusive place. This informative, encouraging, and easy-to-understand guidebook will jump-start even the most tentative ally.
100% of the royalties from the first year of sales of this 2nd edition will be donated to nonprofit organizations working to build a safer and more inclusive world for LGBTQ+ people.
Jeannie Gainsburg (pronouns: she/her/hers) is an award-winning educational trainer and consultant in the field of LGBTQ+ inclusion and effective allyship. Formerly the education director at the Out Alliance of Rochester, New York, she is now the founder of Savvy Ally Action, a small business that offers fun, accessible, and encouraging workshops and videos on how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ communities. Jeannie has a BA in psychology from Brown University and an MA in social work and social research from Bryn Mawr College. She was under the impression that a citation was the result of driving too fast until January of 2019, when she received one from the New York State Assembly for Distinguished Educational & Human Rights Services for her work in promoting LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, Ed, and their cat, Carlos. Visit her website and download free ally goodies at www.savvyallyaction.com.
1 - Getting Started
What You Can Expect from This Book
Defining Ally Broadly
Bringing My Friends Along for the Ride
Practice Makes Pretty Darn Good
The Power of the Ally
Allies Can Help Validate a Cause
Allies Can Be a Cultural Bridge
Allies Can Take the Heat Off of LGBTQ+ People
Allies Can Be Possibility Models
Allies Can Get Special Access
What’s Your Story?
Part I: Becoming Knowledgeable Allies
2 - Caution: Identities Being Defined!
Why Do There Have to Be So Many Identity Words?
3 - Coming Out as LGBTQ+
Why the Big Reveal?
The Coming-Out Process
From Theory to Reality
Coming Out Is a Lifelong Process
The Process Is Not Always Linear
It’s So Much Fun, Some Folks Do It Twice!
It’s Not Just for LGBTQ+ People
Coming Out Is Not Always the Immediate Goal
Responding When Someone Comes Out to You
What to Say
What Not to Say
4 - Orientations, Identities, Behaviors—Oh My!
A Basic Diagram of the Components of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
Attraction (Also Known as Orientation)
Where Do I Fall?
An Advanced Diagram of the Components of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
Answers to Our Questions
What the Heck Does Nonbinary Mean?
Can Transgender People Also Be Gay?
How Can I Tell If Someone Is Gay?
How Can Someone Be Asexual but Still Have Sex?
Key Ally Takeaways
Part II: Building Skills for Having Respectful Conversations
5 - Pronouns: Sharing, Gathering, and Using
Why Are Pronouns So Important?
Sharing Your Pronouns
Gathering Pronouns from Others
In a Small Group
In Large Numbers
Using Pronouns Correctly
More Than One Pronoun
Messing Up Properly
6 - LGBTQ+ Etiquette Tips, Common Bloopers, and Outdated Terms
LGBTQ+ Etiquette Tips
Tip #1: Ungender Your Language
Tip #2: Mirror Terms
Combining Tip #1 and Tip #2
Tip #3: Implement the “Switch It” Technique
Tip #4: Use the Correct Name and Pronoun
Tip #5: Focus on What You Need to Know
Common LGBTQ+ Language Bloopers to Avoid
Getting Creative with the Word Transgender
Confusing the Terms Transgender Man and Transgender Woman
Talking about Preferred Pronouns
Using the Word Preference Instead of Orientation
Using Language That Implies That Transitioning Is Completed
Focusing on the Past
Asking a Gay Couple Which One Is the Man and Which One Is the Woman
Outdated Terms and Better Language Choices
Use Transgender Instead of Transsexual
Use Cross-Dresser Instead of Transvestite
Use Gay Instead of Homosexual
Use Typical Instead of Normal
Use Intersex Instead of Hermaphrodite
Use Different Sex or Gender Instead of Opposite Sex or Gender
Use Are Instead of Identify As
Avoid These Terms Altogether
Tranny, Fag, and Dyke
7 - Gaydar and Other Problematic Assumptions
LGBTQ+ Myths and Stereotypes
Myths and Stereotypes about Straight/Cisgender Allies
8 - Good Talk: The Art of Having Useful Conversations
We Are All Resistant Learners
Tips for Having Respectful and Useful Conversations
Put Yourself in the Hot Seat (Prep Work)
Set Your Listen/Share Dial to at Least 50/50 (Prep Work)
Avoid Labelling the Comment or Behavior
Use “I” Statements
Start with a Connecting Statement
Educate with Examples, Not Definitions
Try the “Switch It” Technique
Listen for Those Myths and Stereotypes
Be Aware of Your Hot Buttons
A Night Out with Lou the Lunchroom Aide
An Ally’s Gift
Part III: Taking Action to Create More Inclusive Spaces
9 - Straight Pride Parades and Special Snowflakes: Addressing Common Questions
I Just Treat Everyone the Same; What’s Wrong with That?
Why Do LGBTQ+ People Have to Flaunt Their Sexuality and Get in My Face with It?
The Falsely Accused Flaunter
The Temporary Flaunter
The Full-Time Flaunter
I Know My Friend Is Gay—How Can I Get Him to Come Out to Me?
Aren’t We in a Good Place Now with LGBTQ+ Rights and Inclusion? What’s Left to Do?
Why Isn’t There a Straight Pride Parade?
Reality Check #1
Reality Check #2
Reality Check #3
Reality Check #4
Apparently, I’m Cisgender. How Can I Be Something That I’ve Never Heard of? Do I Have to Go around Telling People I’m Cisgender Now?
How Can I Be Something That I Don’t Even Know about and Why Does Someone Else Get to Define Me? (Confused/Irritated)
Is This New Word Really “a Thing” or Will It Be Gone Next Month? (Skeptical)
Do I Have to Embrace This New Term? My List of Identity Terms Seems to Be Constantly Growing. Which Ones Do I Have to Share in Order to Be Respectful? (Overwhelmed)
Why Are LGBTQ+ People So Angry?
My Lesbian Friends Call Each Other Dykes. Why Is It Okay for Them to Do That but Not Me?
I Thought People Were “Born That Way”; Now You’re Telling Me That Being LGBTQ+ Can Be a Lifelong Journey of Changing Identities? WTF?
I Feel Like I Can’t Say Anything Anymore without Offending Someone. Don’t You Think We’ve Gone Too Far with All of This PC Language?
10 - Duct Tape Patch-up Jobs and Big Fixes
Duct Tape Patch-Up Jobs with Our Educational Opportunities
Big Fixes with Our Educational Opportunities
Increasing LGBTQ+ Visibility
Duct Tape Patch-Up Jobs for Increasing LGBTQ+ Visibility
Big Fixes for Increasing LGBTQ+ Visibility
Duct Tape Patch-Up Jobs for Revising Forms and Paperwork
Big Fixes for Revising Forms and Paperwork
Duct Tape Patch-Up Jobs for Updating Policies
Big Fixes for Updating Policies
Fixing Gendered Facilities
Duct Tape Patch-Up Jobs for Fixing Gendered Restrooms and Other Facilities
Big Fixes for Fixing Gendered Restrooms and Other Facilities
A Special Note about Signage
11 - Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Spaces in Different Settings
In Your Home
In Health and Mental Health Settings
Caring for LGBTQ+ People of Color
Caring for Transgender Individuals
Caring for Older LGBTQ+ Adults
In the Workplace
In Faith Communities
12 - Taking It to the Streets
Rallies, Marches, Protests, and Lobbying
Talking with Politicians
13 - Now What? Questions from Allies in the Real World
Questions about Terms and Identities
Questions from Family Members
Questions from the Workplace
Questions from Teachers and School Staff
Part IV: Allying Responsibly
14 - Messing Up Properly
Accidentally Misgendering Someone
Offer an Apology or a Thank-You
Get It Right the Next Time
Making an Offensive or Hurtful Comment
Offer a Thank-You and an Apology
15 - Backlash Against Allies
Ally Is a Practice, Not an Identity
Shut Up and Listen
“A” Is for Asexual
Pay It Forward
16 – Sustainability
Take Care of Yourself
Be on Your Own Team
Treat Yourself the Way You Would Treat Your Best Friend
Give Yourself Permission to Fail 220
Use Positive Self-Coaching Tips
Keep a Joy Journal
Know Your Recipe for Wellness and Follow It
Think about What’s Not Wrong
Continue Your Education
Every So Often, Return to “Why?”
About the Author
If you’re interested in being an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ communities then put this book on your required-reading list and learn from one of the best. Gainsburg’s savviness, warmth, sensitivity, and humor emanate from every page. You’re going to love this book.
Jeannie Gainsburg has written a brilliant guide to what we all need to know and do to be better allies for LGBTQ+ people in all aspects of our lives. It’s a treasure trove of practical ideas, sprinkled with the perfect amount of humor.
This is it. You found it—the very best guide on how not to make mistakes with LGBTQ+ employees, customers, students, congregants, patients, and family members. If you want to be an effective ally for LGBTQ+ people, buy and read The Savvy Ally. I very enthusiastically endorse this book
This is a beautiful book. A necessary book. An unputdownable book. Please read this book.
An ideal, practical, effective, and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional guide and manual, The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, personal, professional, community, college, and university library LGBTQ collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.
If you want to support LGBTQ+ people but no one has ever taught you how, this is the book for you. Written in an accessible and entertaining style, The Savvy Ally is filled with useful scenarios, tips, and examples to help you transition from well-intentioned bystander to effective and informed advocate.
If you have LGBTQ+ friends, family, colleagues, service users, or are simply keen to be more knowledgeable about the subject of gender equity, The Savvy Ally is the best reference guide you are ever likely to read. Jeannie Gainsburg is a skilled and professional ally, as well as a tremendous author.
This is such an amazing book about how someone who is not part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a helpful advocate to those who are… I highly recommend this book to everyone.
This book is long overdue, and I loved reading it! It is a call to action in a positive, optimistic, and engaging way—a masterful blend of information, personal stories, humor, and serious content. This is much more than just an informative book. It is designed to build skills that can be translated into ongoing, meaningful action. If you want to be an effective LBGTQ+ ally, buy this book. It won’t just sit on your shelf. You’ll use it every day!
I love the compassionate sentiment that is weaved through this book that being an ally doesn’t mean you have to be perfect; it means being able to acknowledge when a mistake is made and then trying your best to be better. If you truly want to be an ally, The Savvy Ally will lead the way through real-life examples, questions that make you go hmmm . . ., and ‘what if’ scenarios. Thank you, Jeannie Gainsburg, for supporting my ally journey!
The Savvy Ally provides a successful foray into the confusing and ever-changing world of being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. The thoughtful definitions, various analogies, and personal examples used to clarify issues are always helpful and often brilliant. Clearly, Gainsburg’s many years of ‘operating in solidarity with’ the LGBTQ+ community have provided her with the necessary insight to create such a useful tool. I am grateful for such a perceptive and kindhearted book!
The Savvy Ally is a read for everyone. It is one of the best tutorials I’ve read that offers key insights into LGBTQ communities while offering practical guidance and action-oriented tips that will help allies become more culturally competent, respectful, and impactful in their interactions, both personally and in business.
The Savvy Ally is a book I will recommend again and again for its thoughtful approach to gaining knowledge, skill, and confidence. It’s a much-needed tool in our box!
Once in a while, a book comes along that resonates with my heart & my life's passion/mission. This is The Savvy Ally book by Jeannie Gainsburg. It contains all the relevant aspects and more on how to be an ALLY, excuse me, a SAVVY ALLY as Jeannie's badass humor and personality came through the reading for me. I love it so much!
In her book, The Savvy Ally, Jeannie Gainsburg informs and empowers readers to consider how they might be more open and engaging toward those who might be different. It is a resource I have recommended many times.
I was really hesitant to read a book written about the LGBTQ+ community by someone who does not identify as LGBTQ+. I read the first few pages with skepticism, ready to poke holes in the book. And... I have never been so happy to be proven wrong! Jeannie's book is filled with great information for anyone who wants to understand what it means to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ people and how to act as an ally. It's also educational for those within the community—I found myself saying 'Huh! I didn't know that!' multiple times as I was reading. I loved the book so much that we offered the book as a virtual book club at work during pride month this June. My colleagues had rich and meaningful discussion and we would highly recommend it!
7/2/2023 Big Gay Energy: An LGBTQ+ Media Podcast
6/23/23 WXXI Connections with Evan Dawson
6/9/23 Katie Couric Media
6/6/23 Washington Blade
6/2/23 Real World Parenting with Dr. Laura S. Anderson
5/24/23 Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen Podcast with Heather Hester
5/1/23 Let’s Talk All Things LGBTQ+ hosted by Annie McKinnon
4/30/23 Lambda Weekly Radio Show
4/28/23 Code Like A Girl: Gainsburg wrote strategies for showing up as an ally for LGBTQ+ coworkers and clients and the book is featured.
4/14/23 Karel Cast Podcast hosted by Karel Cast
4/5/23 HomoCulture Article: