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Abstract

This study will explore the relationship between LGBTQ+ identifying students’ expectations of and experiences with allies, and their perceptions of campus climate. LGBTQ+ ally training programs and visibility of LGBTQ+ allies contribute to both campus climate and LGBTQ+ students’ perceptions of that climate, leading to more positive and healthy college experiences. However, it is not clear that current practice in training and educating allies truly reflects the needs of LGBTQ+ identifying students.

While research is available for the design and implementation of ally training programs, there is little to no research on what LGBTQ+ identifying students expect of allies, nor is there research into the effect of those expectations on the perception of campus climate. Not only is there a dearth of knowledge on the perception of allies by LGBTQ+ identifying students, there is little knowledge of the effect of ally programs on the experiences of students who go through them (Worthen, 2011). Likewise, there is little to no available knowledge of the effect of ally programs on LGBTQ+ identifying students.

Well-meaning individuals on many college campuses have undertaken the task to educate individuals as LGBTQ+ allies in an effort to improve the college experience of LGBTQ+ identifying students. However, well-meaning people run the risk of causing damage when they act without understanding the many aspects to a complex system of oppression (Davis & Harrison, 2013). Understanding LGBTQ+ identifying students’ expectations of allies, as well as the effect of those expectations on perceptions of campus climate, is vital to understanding and addressing the LGBTQ+ experience on college campuses.