We Can All Be Allies

An LGBTQIA+ ally is someone who supports, stands up for, respects, uplifts and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community. Whether you’re educating yourself about the LGBTQIA+ community, are sharing content from LGBTQIA+ voices, are actively advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights, or are a good friend or colleague to an LGBTQIA+ person – there are lots of different ways to be an ally.

We want to live in a world with no marginalisation and where everyone feels a sense of belonging and no one is left behind. For this to happen, marginalised groups including the LGBTQIA+ community need support and allyship.

At Woolies, supported by a stern leadership commitment to Inclusive Justice, our internal W.Pride task team helps give voice to and address issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. They do this through advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights and representation and employee awareness and sensitisation programmes.

We’ve adapted our wardrobe policy to recognise everyone’s unique preferences to style, cultural or religious needs, and gender identity or expression. We’ve also created a range of Pride merchandise and are donating funds to LGBTQIA+ support organisations. Shop the range to show your colours and your support.

We asked a panel of LGBTQIA+ people about what makes a good ally to them. Here’s what they had to say.


“What makes a really great ally is someone who is actually listening. Like properly listening to you and gives you the platform and the space and the opportunity to speak…”
–       Zoey Black | Activist, YouTuber, Creative Director, Facilitator

If you're privileged enough to have someone share their personal story with you, you should be present, open-minded, and compassionate. That means actively listening to understand, not necessarily to respond. Be respectful and give LGBTQIA+ people their share of voice.


Don’t assume someone is LGBTQIA+, and don’t assume someone is straight. When it comes to someone’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, incorrect assumptions can be harmful and hurtful. Each person’s past, family and relationships are unique, so don’t assume that you know their gender or that you understand their experiences. You may ask questions but remember that you are not entitled to a person’s sensitive or personal stories. Everyone has a right to their privacy, and they don’t need to disclose information they are not comfortable sharing.

“An ally is basically someone who doesn’t ‘other’ us.  I don’t want to be your gay best friend. I’m just your best friend.”
-        Nkuley Masemola | DJ, Model, Superstar


The better you understand, the better you can support. While an LGBTQIA+ person may be willing to share their story, it's not their job to educate you. There are loads of resources on the internet for you to learn from. Educate yourself and explore your own prejudices.

“I think it’s simple, just treat others the way you’d want to be treated and when you see prejudice, stand up and speak out.”
–       Liz Hillock | Woolworths Online and Mobile Director


Every one of us plays a part in making the world safer and more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community. As allies, we must speak up if we witness hate speech or acts of oppression – even when it’s uncomfortable. To be neutral or silent in times of injustice is to choose the side of the oppressor.

“I think once you know that there is a person in your life who needs your help, love and support – it’s to not ignore that call on your heart.”
–       Michelle van der Merwe | Proud Ally


“I do a lot of work with queer-focused organisations and there are a lot of them in South Africa that are doing really, really great work. I think we need more allyship in support of that as well.”
–       Zoey Black | Activist, YouTuber, Creative Director, Facilitator

Put the effort in to finding ways to support. Shop at LGBTQIA+ owned businesses. Donate to LGBTQIA+ support organisations when you can.

There isn’t one, quick solution, but if we keep looking for ways to build a better and more accepting world, we can move forward together.