Being An Ally: Things You Can Do To Support The LGBTQIA+ Community
This past month, we have celebrated the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ community throughout the world. Pride has been a space where the LGBTQ community can proudly be themselves. This is your opportunity to appropriately be an ally to your family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors. So this month let the colors of the rainbow demonstrate your support of the LGBTQ community. Here are a few ways that you can show your support for the community, not only for this month, but from now on.
- Listen to the youth LGBTQ members
The LGBTQ youth does not receive an ample amount of recognition, and adults can help by being more understanding. There are also guides that you could read to support transgender, bisexual, and LGBTQ-colored youth. Once you have a good understanding then pass the information forward to help gain more support for the community.
- Let them come out on their own time
By being supportive as a friend, you should give the people in your life enough time to come out. If you have suspicions about someone being a part of the community, don’t call them out but instead stay quiet. Don’t pressure or interrogate them to tell you. According to the Human Rights Council, it isn’t that the person doesn’t trust you or feel comfortable, they just may not be ready to talk about their sexuality.
- Confront any homophobia or transphobia
For someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community, it is hard to speak out against any transphobic or homophobic people. Someone who is cisgender/ straight would have better luck at standing up against this. Never tolerate any homophobic remarks, jokes, or behaviors because they may help someone in the room feel a little safer.
- Using proper language
When coming out, it is a very hard experience overall, and if someone prefers a different name then it’s best to use it. It is important to understand the pronouns that are being used as well. By using someone’s preferred language, it shows that you really respect them. At first, it may be challenging but correct yourself if you mess up and in time you will have it down and make them the happiest person.
- Create safe places
Become motivated to help others! Maybe try to contact local school boards and find of what their policies are for inclusivity. Share any resources that you can find with the youth who have experienced violence or harassment. Think about the common places you would visit and spend time at. Are they safe and welcoming to the LGBTQ community? If not think of ways you could suggest for changes to be made. It is important to make them feel empowered too.
- Show people that they can be authentic around you
When speaking never assume someone’s gender or declare them to be a “boy” or a “girl.” Try to find ways to demonstrate to others that they can be themselves when they are around you. Never say that there is a set “one way” to lead your life and be open to the options that we have.
- Get Educated
Your loved ones should not be expected to educate you, and it is your role to do so for yourself. Show them that you care by dedicating time to research and learn the details behind the community. Try out different kinds of resources such as books, movies, guides, documentaries, and articles. Choose one to start with and you will quickly learn about the culture, history, and activism.
- Never Stereotype
Just because someone comes out does not mean that they will begin acting like characters from TV or movies do. Within the LGBTQ community, there is diversity and a variety of races, religions, and ethnicities.
- Never out them to anyone else
By coming out, someone trusts you with that personal information so be careful not to share it. By disclosing someone’s sexual orientation or gender, you could endanger a person and put their life at risk. Leave it up to that person to decide when they are ready to tell others.
- Avoid reacting like this:
- ● Panic – Despite your own beliefs whether they be cultural or religious, focus on the person and understand where they are coming from
- ● Surprise – saying “I knew it!”
- ● Making them feel guilty for not telling you earlier
- Listen to them
Everyone who is a part of the LGBTQ community will identify in their own way. Some
of them may be out while others are still in the closet or still figuring out their sexuality. Regardless of the situation, make sure to offer your support. Always smile when they speak on the subject because this non-verbal action allows this topic to feel welcomed into the conversation. Let it be known that they can come to you as a safe person to talk to and applaud them for being courageous.
Regardless of which of these things you choose to do, know that it will make a difference in someone’s life. A simple adjustment to your current routine can make all the difference. Challenge yourself to add all of these things to your lifestyle and not only for the month of pride. Incorporate them and over time you will naturally have these elements in your pocket. Those in the LGBTQ community will appreciate your dedication and feel more welcomed, thanks to you for doing your research!