A llies are open, knowledgeable, and supportive toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ+) people and issues. Allies choose to openly, actively, consistently provide support for, and advocate for, LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. Allies work toward a thorough, affirming, and connected understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, terms, and experiences.

Allies support full, equal civil rights; gender equality; access to all services including health care; and positive social change. They stand against all forms of discrimination and homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

Allies are often, though not always, cisgender, straight individuals.

Allies are:

  • Good and caring listeners
  • Knowledgeable advocates
  • Dedicated to bringing about positive change
  • Continually educating themselves
  • Not seeking to be the center of attention
  • People who acknowledge their privilege
  • Always working to expand understanding and acceptance
  • Respectful of others' privacy and safety

How you can find an ally at HFC

The HFC allies listed in the section below have completed Ally Training at HFC and stand in full support of members of the LGBTQ+ community and other allies. These individuals invite you to reach out to any of them with questions, inquiries, and any challenges you might be facing. Most are not licensed counselors, and they do not provide official counseling services (though they can refer you to supportive counselors if that is what you need). All HFC allies are trained to provide effective, personalized support -- including a listening ear and a safe space. HFC allies provide welcoming, intentional, informal support and assistance. They will keep your inquiries confidential (unless it is clear that you are in imminent danger and need intervention to protect your safety).

Feel free to build a relationship with an ally, or multiple allies, as part of your network of support and solidarity.

There is no hierarchy among allies. While you are free to reach out to any ally based on that person's area of expertise, ALL allies will welcome you, regardless of their title, status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other factor.

The individuals on this page have undertaken Ally Training at Henry Ford College and have enthusiastically requested to be listed as HFC Allies. These individuals welcome contact from anyone seeking an ally.

NOTE about confidentiality: All allies will keep your information confidential, unless it is clear that you are in imminent danger and need intervention to protect your safety. If you choose to use HFC email for your initial outreach to an ally, you may wish to simply ask the ally if they would be willing to have a 1-to-1 conversation, without mentioning details of the conversation's purpose. The HFC email system is intended primarily for work/school purposes, though you may use it for this purpose too. You may wish to take your future communications into a more private space, such as personal email or phone/text messages.

Trained HFC Allies (select for a full list of names and contact info, alphabetical order)

Hala Al-Siyaghy
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Assistant to the Associate Dean, Health and Human Services

Alfonso Betancourt
Pronouns: he, him, his
Graphics Technician

Eileen Brennan
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Business Intelligence Systems Analyst

Carolyn Casale
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Director of Pre-Education

Nicole Castle-Kelly
Pronouns: she, her, hers
English Instructor

Ashlei Chears
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Academic Advisor, Welcome Center

Betsy Cohn
Pronouns: she, her, hers
English and Communications Faculty

Delphine Davis
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Detroit Promise Coach

Rhonda DeLong
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Lisa Fillip
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Employer Relations Coordinator

Kathryn Fitzner
Pronouns: she, her, hers
CIS/Cisco Instructor

Nikole Ford-Kondraciuk
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Assistant Director, Enrollment Services, Assessment, and Orientation

Eric Gackenbach
Pronouns: he, him, his
Department Chair, Hospitality Studies

Debora Gates, LPC
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Counselor debbieg@hfcc.edu
(313) 845‐9611

Janice Gilliland
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Dean, School of STEM

Natalie Gonzales
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Accounting Analyst

Troy Gibson
Pronouns: he, him, his
Academic Advisor, and
Sexuality And Gender Acceptance (SAGA) club faculty advisor

Lori Gonko, Ed.D.
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Vice President, Strategy and Human Resources

Sara Gonzalez-Herrera
Pronouns: she, her, hers
International Student Advisor sagonzalez@hfcc.edu

Terrilyn Hagen
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Talent Acquisition Coordinator

Kurt Anthony Krug
Pronouns: he, him, his
Writer, Marketing and Communications

Lara Laney
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Records Associate II

Ashleigh Martin
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Graphic Designer

Lisa Masi
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Institutional Research Analyst

Chari Milai
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Academic Advisor, Welcome Center

Heather Mitchell
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Student Support Associate

Joni Morris
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Financial Aid Associate

Michael Nealon, Ph.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his
Vice President of Academic Affairs

Candance Niemer, MSN, APRN, CNS-C, CNE
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Nursing Instructor

Elizabeth Preston
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Financial Aid Specialist

Eric Rader, Ph.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his
Political Science faculty and President of Local 1650

Keli Renda
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Business Analyst

Glenn Richards
Pronouns: he, him, his
Student Conduct and Compliance Manager

Karen Richards
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Assistant to the Associate Dean, Counseling Division

Kristine Rouleau
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Recruiter, Admissions and Recruiting

Ruth Ann Schmitt
Pronouns: she, her, hers
English Instructor

Patti Sekulidis
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Graphic Designer

Carla Serfas
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Instructor and Faculty Chair of Biology

Victoria Shepherd
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Faculty Lead, Graphic Design

Jolie Stepaniak
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Biology Instructor

Scott Still
Pronouns: he, him, his
Co-Director, Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and English Instructor

Sarah Sullivan
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Department Secretary, Campus Safety

Kierra Wilson
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Academic Advisor, Welcome Center

How you can become an ally at HFC

Participate in Ally Training

We recommend that all allies at HFC participate in ally training, to create a community consensus on what an ally is and how you can be supportive and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ members of community.

If you are interested in Ally Training to become a better ally at HFC, please contact Elizabeth Preston, at 313-317-1530 or via e-mail at empreston@hfcc. Training will be offered once a year for anyone who is interested in providing resources, creating safe spaces, and creating an environment free from biases and harassment.

Below are some guidelines and suggestions on what being an ally means at HFC. HFC ally training will give you additional tools and strategies.

Guideline 1: Be Visible

  • Consider wearing an identifiable emblem, such as a SAFE@HFC button, a rainbow pin, or similar
  • Greet students and coworkers with a smile, and make eye contact when appropriate. Pay special attention to students who might appear to be less than comfortable or who are looking for a friendly face. Introduce yourself and ask how they are doing. Tell them your role is to support students, and that you are available if there is anything they need.
  • Make your work space a place where all feel accepted and welcome. Some ideas:
    • Keep an open door and a friendly disposition.
    • Provide a comfortable space for visitors to sit.
    • Display buttons, stickers, rainbow flags, pins, or other emblems that show support for LGBTQ individuals. The display can be subtle as long as it is visible and recognizable.
    • Wear a SAFE@HFC button or other supportive emblem.
    • Openly talk about LGBTQ issues, and let it become known that your workspace is a welcoming space.
  • Attend SAFE@HFC, SAGA, and other events so you can be visible as an ally.

Guideline 2: Learn for Understanding and Service

  • Understand and affirm the HFC mission to be a Welcoming College
  • Learn and share the resources available at HFC to support LGBTQ+ students, many of which are described on the SAFE@HFC website.
  • Learn about the many advantages and challenges of a diverse community. Recognize and work on your own unconscious biases.
  • Understand that being an ally is not an identity. It is a commitment, and a way of life that must be worked at and sustained. It is not limited to LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Learn about the intersectionality among identities, including such identities as race, class, education, sexuality, ability, age, gender, ethnicity, physical size, religion, national origin, and culture.
  • Remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. And both can be fluid during the course of one's life.
  • Understand that you do not have a "right" to share other people's stories or identities. Let them take the lead in whether, where, or when they want to share anything publicly or with other individuals. It can be hard for you to hold information confidentially and not to "out" someone. Please be very careful with others' identities and stories, and ask for help if you need help.
  • Remember that just as there is no hierarchy of suffering, there is no hierarchy of "knowledge" about LGBTQ+ people and issues. Be humble. We are all on a lifelong journey of learning, acceptance, and outreach.
  • Remember that you don't always have answers, and some conversations or situations might be uncomfortable for you. Prepare to be surprised and to respond with kindness and a listening, accepting posture.

Guideline 3: Take Action

  • Participate in HFC Ally Training (see section on this webpage)
  • Support individuals when they come to you. Make sure they feel heard and affirmed, even if their values are not the same as yours. And if they need resources, actively connect them with people or organizations that can help. Try really hard not to express judgement.
  • Active listening is a form of action. Often, what people really need from you is connection: to be heard and affirmed, not to "fix" something or even provide concrete help.
  • Avoid making assumptions based on someone's appearance. Be open and welcoming to all members of our community, without the need to categorize or judge.
  • Be authentic in your own life. Learn about who you are, take responsibility for your emotions and actions, and be genuine.
  • If you witness harassment or discrimination, step in and stand with the person being harassed. Do not become aggressive or agitated; just support the person and stand (or sit) with them to provide support and human connection. If necessary, contact Campus Safety or other campus officials to intervene.
  • Share information, resources, and activities that others can use or participate in to advance the safety, inclusion, and wellness of members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Guideline 4: Use Language Carefully and Thoughtfully

  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Learn and use inclusive language. Respect others' preferred names and pronouns. Use gender-inclusive language for things like "partner" rather than "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" when possible.
  • Talk to those around you about LGBTQ issues in a kind, responsive, non-judgmental way that opens dialog and welcomes diverse experiences and perspectives.
  • Avoid making assumptions and using accusatory or judgmental language, which shuts down dialog.
  • Avoid generalizing your experience to other people's experiences. It is fine to share a sense of solidarity, but if someone is seeking an ally, it is usually best not to insert your own experiences into their story. (See point 1: listen more than you speak.)
  • Acknowledge your own emotions before engaging in conversation. If you are angry, offended, frustrated, or afraid, these emotions are likely to affect your use of language. Be aware of these factors.
  • Stay within your abilities. We are all human. If you encounter a situation that is beyond your expertise or that you don't feel you can handle, kindly acknowledge that, and seek help or refer a vulnerable person to someone who can help them. You are not expected to act as a counselor or to "save" or "fix" anyone. You are there to listen and provide affirmation and support. It is far better to listen and make a kind, personal referral than to attempt to assist in a way that exceeds your abilities and qualifications.
  • Respond with kind firmness to anti-LGBTQ language and behavior, by engaging speakers in conversation that is intended to inform and persuade. Keep a collegial tone; avoid an authoritative tone.
  • Remind individuals who are using inappropriate language that HFC is a welcoming College for everyone, and it is our mission and aspiration to communicate in supportive, welcoming terms.
  • Remember that not all language is spoken. Be sensitive to body and unspoken language -- including your own.
  • If you are questioned or challenged about your language, respond from a non-defensive, listening stance. We always have more to learn! And humility is best, even when you do not agree with someone's perspective or potential criticism.
  • Remember that what you say and do matters, and can make a very big difference to another person. This work is important, and even life-changing!