When used in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community, an ally or an accomplice is someone who supports LGBTQIA+ people in partnership with them and advocates for them, even without having a direct stake in the cause, such as a cisgender person who actively supports transgender rights. Being an ally is not considered an identity; it is an ongoing process that requires action and continuous learning.
The "A" in acronyms like LGBTQIA+ does not mean Ally. Some allies consider themselves to be a part of the community despite this fact. The validity of this claim is currently a topic of debate within the community itself. Generally, though, allies are not considered to be a valid part of the community due to the fact that allies support LGBTQIA+ people without actually being them. However, allyship can provide plausible deniability for someone who is not ready to come out or who cannot safely come out, but still wants to be close to queer culture and politics.
There is a flag design associated with LGBTQIA+ allies. This flag is said to represent "all straight and cisgender people who are proud allies of the LGBT+ community", and is thought to have been created sometime in the 2000s. The color meanings for this flag are as follows: the black and white stripes are meant to represent "heterosexual genders", while the A-shaped rainbow in the flag represents someone acting as both an ally and an activist, in this case with support to the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Marks, Jadyn, "Why straight allies are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community"
- Holleb, Morgan Lev Edward. The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. ISBN 9781784506636.