I attended an Employee Resource Group conference in July of 2019 and after the breakout sessions, groups were presenting their ideas and findings to all the attendees. A group tasked with talking about Allyship had just finished presenting and another participate at the conference stood up and said that she didn’t think allies needed to be included in ERGs. Her reasoning was that by including allies it made the space less inclusive of the diversity characteristic that the ERG represented, which in this case was the LGBTQ+ community. Having been a longtime ally and developer of a very successful Ally Program at a former company, I was a little bit taken aback.
My experience as an ally has been that I was not only welcomed as an LBGTQ+ ally but I was needed. I have been told by numerous people how important allies are and have been in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality and for creating workplaces where people feel they can bring their ‘whole-self’ to work.
What are your thoughts? Do you include allies or not? Is there a way to include but not overwhelm the LGBTQ+ members of the ERG?