The Savvy Ally

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A book review of The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate

A book review of The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate

Stars: *****

Rowman & Littlefield Publisher (2020)
Human Sexuality
184 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is an enjoyable, humorous, encouraging, easy to understand guidebook for being an ally to the LGBTQ+ communities. It is chock full of practical and useful tools for LGBTQ+ advocacy, including:

  • Current and relevant information on identities and LGBTQ+ language
  • Tips for what to say and what not to say when someone comes out to you
  • LGBTQ+ etiquette and techniques for respectful conversations
  • Common bloopers to avoid
  • Tools for effectively navigating difficult conversations
  • Suggestions for addressing common questions and concerns
  • Actions for creating more LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces
  • Recommendations for self-care and sustainable allyship

This book will be useful for teachers, counselors, social workers, nurses, medical technicians, and college professors, as well as parents who want to be supportive of their LGBTQ+ child, but don’t know how. This is not a book about why to be an ally. This is a book about how to be an ally. The goal of The Savvy Ally is to create more confident, active allies who are effective advocates for change. This informative, entertaining, and supportive guidebook will surely jump-start even the most tentative ally.

The Savvy Ally

This is such an amazing book about how a someone who is not part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a helpful advocate to those who are.

I was surprised to see that a book about LGBTQ+ was written by a cisgender straight woman. (I learned the term cisgender from the book. It means that she identifies as the same gender as she was assigned at birth. AKA she was called a girl at birth and she agrees with that.) I think she did a wonderful job both explaining all the confusing terms as well as explaining how anyone not LGBTQ+ can be an ally or advocate for those who are.

You don’t have to fully understand LGBTQ+ or even agree with how they feel to be respectful of them. You don’t have to know anyone who is part of the community to be an advocate either.

What the Book Covers

The author covers what not to say, why it can be upsetting and what you should say in a multitude of situations. She also covers the spectrum and differences of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, attraction (orientation) and intimate behaviours. These are often thought of as the same thing but they aren’t. I learned a lot.

There are a lot more types of intersex possibilities as well than I originally thought. Intersex means not necessarily all boy or all girl. For example someone might have male genitalia but female reproductive organs.

Another thing I found interesting is the general steps of coming out. It’s not just in the closet and then out of the closet. Some people are out for some people but not for others. Or out at work but not at home. Someone might come out and then go back in. Also when they are finally comfortable with who they are they might go through a pride stage. This is where some non LGTBQ+ people feel like the LGTBQ+ person is pushing their orientation on them.

“Identity pride is the stage I like to call the loud and proud stage. People on the outside looking in often describe people in this stage as obnoxious, aggressive, angry or over the top. It’s important for allies to understand where these loud and proud behaviours and attitudes are coming from and to appreciate the experience that the person has survived. ”

– The Savvy Ally

Another important section is where the author talks about how the world needs to change to be more inclusive. She points out things that someone who has never struggled with gender or orientation might not notice.

“..sharing some examples of stuff I can do as a straight cisgender person that my LGBTQ+ friends cannot… I can find a restroom to pee in safely and conveniently pretty much anywhere I go, my husband and I can hold hands and walk pretty much anywhere without fearing for our safety. In an emergency medical situation, I know I will not have to worry about being treated respectfully or being placed in a ward that doesn’t match my gender identity, when I was growing up, I saw straight, cisgender people like me represented constantly in the school curriculum, in books and in movies.”

– The Savvy Ally

I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.