Or at least, most self-proclaimed allies…from a trans* perspective.
Ally is not a title you claim. Being an ally is an action. Being an ally is something you do, always. It is not a label, as much as it is an action of supporting a community. You do not simply get to make a statement and leave it at that. Being an ally is something that is given to you by the group that you are claiming allyship with. It is not a badge. It is not a get out free card. It does not prevent you from being problematic, incorrect, or an issue. An LGBT ally can still be homophobic, biphobic, or trans*phobic. An ally’s place is to listen and learn, while amplifying the voices of the group they are aligned with. An ally is to never speak for, above, or against, the group they are an ally for.
Being an ally is not something you should expect praise for. Being an ally is about working towards the greater good for all involved and helping a group of people be heard with their struggles. This is an action. Being an ally, once again, is not a badge to be worn and flashed about. Being an ally should be a thankless job, because being an ally means being a decent human being. While being an ally is not seen as the norm, this is how it should be treated. Allyship should be seen as the norm, since being an ally is about respecting humans and granting basic human rights, privileges, and dignities. Being an ally is a collaborative effort between the ally and the group they ally is allied with.
One should not expect to come into this expecting praise. An ally should be humble. An ally should be steadfast. This means that if an ally is called out for problematic behavior, they listen and learn. They do not become defensive because becoming defensive means you believe your words to be correct. Allyship is not meant to be a token to be given and taken either due to personal issues within the community. If there is an issue, the threat should not be that you are an ally and thus, “on our side”. There should be an apology and a learning experience. Humans, by nature, are imperfect beings and even the most supportive ally is prone to problematic behavior. Allies, by their very nature, are not part of the community they are supporting and thus, will never truly understand the experiences of the people they are supposed to be supporting.