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A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate

The Savvy Ally is an enjoyable, humorous, encouraging, easy-to-understand guidebook for being an ally to the LGBTQ+ communities. It is chock-full of practical and useful tools for LGBTQ+ advocacy, including:

  • Current and relevant information on identities and LGBTQ+ language

  • Techniques for respectful dialogue and common bloopers to avoid

  • Tools for effectively navigating difficult conversations

  • Suggestions for addressing common questions and concerns

  • Actions for creating more LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces

  • Recommendations for self-care and sustainable allyship

The Savvy Ally is vital for teachers, counselors, social workers, healthcare providers, and college professors, as well as parents who want to be supportive of their LGBTQ+ child but don’t know how. This informative, entertaining, and supportive guidebook will surely jump-start even the most tentative ally.



Savvy Ally Action has partnered with the minority-owned company, Hiitide, to create the Savvy Ally Virtual Book Club. This is a 28-day microcourse where you'll get "daily doses" of savvy ally action! Click a button below to either reserve your spot or learn how you can host your own private book club with your friends or colleagues.

Image by Paweł Czerwiński

Book Endorsements and Reviews

“This is it. You found it — the very best guide on how not to make mistakes with LGBTQ+ employees, customers, students, congregants, patients, and family members. If you want to be an effective ally for LGBTQ+ people, buy and read The Savvy Ally. I very enthusiastically endorse this book.”

Brian McNaught, named by The New York Times “The Godfather of Gay Diversity Training”

"This is a beautiful book. A necessary book. An unputdownable book. Please read this book." 

Alison Smith, Barnes & Noble Discover Award Winner for Non-Fiction and Author of Name All the Animals

“An ideal, practical, effective, and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional guide and manual, The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, personal, professional, community, college, and university library LGBTQ collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.”

Midwest Book Review

“If you have LGBTQ+ friends, family, colleagues, service users, or are simply keen to be more knowledgeable about the subject of gender equity, "The Savvy Ally" is the best reference guide you are ever likely to read. Jeannie Gainsburg is a skilled and professional ally, as well as a tremendous author.”

Matt McAvoy, senior editor, MJV Literary Author Services

“If you want to support LGBTQ+ people but no one has ever taught you how, this is the book for you. Written in an accessible and entertaining style, The Savvy Ally is filled with useful scenarios, tips, and examples to help you transition from well-intentioned bystander to effective and informed advocate.”

Robyn Ochs, named by Teen Vogue one of “9 Bisexual Women Who are Making History”

“This book is long overdue and I loved reading it! It is a call to action in a positive, optimistic, and engaging way—a masterful blend of information, personal stories, humor, and serious content. This is much more than just an informative book. It is designed to build skills that can be translated into ongoing, meaningful action. If you want to be an effective LBGTQ+ ally, buy this book. It won’t just sit on your shelf. You’ll use it every day!”

Mike Streeter, Executive Director, Workforce Diversity Network

“I love the compassionate sentiment that is weaved through this book that being an ally doesn’t mean you have to be perfect; it means being able to acknowledge when a mistake is made and then trying your best to be better. If you truly want to be an ally, The Savvy Ally will lead the way through real life examples, questions that make you go hmmm…., and “what if” scenarios. Thank you, Jeannie Gainsburg, for supporting my ally journey!”

Kimberly Braithwaite, Senior Human Resource Manager, Barilla America Inc. and one of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2019 “Women Worth Watching”

“The Savvy Ally provides a successful foray into the confusing and ever-changing world of being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. The thoughtful definitions, the various analogies, and the personal examples used to clarify issues are always helpful and often brilliant. Clearly, Gainsburg’s many years of ‘operating in solidarity with’ the LGBTQ+ community have provided her with the necessary insight to create such a useful tool. I am grateful for such a perceptive and kindhearted book!”

Matthew Burns, Dean of Students, University of Rochester

“The Savvy Ally is a read for everyone. It is one of the best tutorials I’ve read that offers key insights into LGBTQ communities while offering practical guidance and action-oriented tips that will help allies become more culturally competent, respectful, and impactful in their interactions, both personally and in business.”

Joseph L. Searles, Jr., Corporate Diversity Relations Director, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

"The Savvy Ally is a book I will recommend again and again for its thoughtful approach to gaining knowledge, skill, and confidence. It's a much needed tool in our box!"

Dr. Kelly Clark, Director of the Q Center, Binghamton University

“I was really hesitant to read a book written about the LGBTQ+ community by someone who does not identify as LGBTQ+. I read the first few pages with skepticism, ready to poke holes in the book. And... I have never been so happy to be proven wrong! Jeannie's book is filled with great information for anyone who wants to understand what it means to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ people and how to act as an ally. It's also educational for those within the community - I found myself saying "huh! I didn't know that!" multiple times as I was reading. I loved the book so much that we offered the book as a virtual book club at work during pride month this June. My colleagues had rich and meaningful discussion and we would highly recommend it!”

Cara Pelletier, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging

at Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software



(An excerpt from the book The Savvy Ally)

What do LGBTQ+ people do in the bedroom?

A. Have sex

B. Read books

C. Sleep

D. Occasionally vacuum and change the sheets

E. All of the above




There is an interesting phenomenon that sometimes happens when people talk about LGBTQ+ individuals and the LGBTQ+ communities. Their heads go right to the person’s body parts and/or what they are doing in the bedroom.

A friend of mine described a workshop he participated in once where everyone in the room got an index card. On one side, they wrote down their sexual orientation and gender. On the other side, they wrote down a favorite sexual activity. They then put all the cards on a table with the “sexual activity” side up. The facilitator asked the participants to look at the sexual activities and figure out who was lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, and cisgender. Guess what happened? They couldn’t do it. They had no idea.

Humans can be very creative in the bedroom and no one group has cornered the market on any one sexual activity. It’s disrespectful and inaccurate to make assumptions about or to define a group of people by what we think they are doing in the bedroom.


Want the book? SWEET!!!

The Savvy Ally is available for purchase from Amazon or the Rowman & Littlefield website. Click below to order.

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