Positive aspects of being a heterosexual ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people

Sharon S. Rostosky, Whitney W. Black, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Dani Rosenkrantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Research on heterosexual allies has focused on heterosexual identity development models and pathways to ally activism. The positive aspects or positive experiences of identifying as an ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) identified individuals and communities have received little attention. Using an online survey of participants recruited from LGBT ally related social media, we collected open-ended responses to a question about the positive aspects of self-identifying as a heterosexual ally. A final analytic sample of 292 self-identified male and female heterosexual adults (age 18-71, M = 33.47, SD = 13.32) provided responses that generated 8 themes. Positive aspects of being a heterosexual ally were: (a) increased knowledge and awareness, (b) upholding values of justice, (c) beneficial individual relationships, (d) community belonging, (e) educating others, (f) being a role model, (g) using social privilege, and (h) speaking out and taking a stand. The findings suggest that being a heterosexual ally is rewarding and may enhance individual well-being. These findings provide information that may contribute to effective ally development efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Orthopsychiatric Association.


  • Bisexual
  • Gay
  • Heterosexual allies
  • Lesbian
  • Qualitative
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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