Let’s face it: Pride month can be a bit awkward for some people. What does it actually mean to be an ally? How do you support the LGBTQ community without feeling like you’re tokenizing them? These are some questions that may have been at the forefront of your mind when reading this article. Writting this article has been quite hard, and not just because I am still getting used to my new wordpress blog. The truth is that being a good ally is something that requires constant attention and action. You cannot simply read this article and expect to have done your part as an ally. You must read, reread, and keep checking in with yourself until you feel confident that you’re doing everything in your power to support the LGBTQ community. If you have read through all these points and still feel unsure about how to be a good ally, don’t worry! Here are a few pointers on how you can support the LGBTQ community as an ally this Pride Month!
This sounds harsh, but it’s an important first step on the path to being a better ally. Being an ally isn’t just about understanding the issues facing the LGBTQ community and being willing to support them. It’s also about recognizing how our privilege may allow us to overlook issues that affect others.
First off, what does “privilege” even mean? In this context, it refers to the unearned advantages that someone in a dominant group has over an individual from a marginalized group. Examples of privilege can include things like race, class, sexual orientation, gender, education and more.
As an ally, you need to recognize that members of the LGBTQ community may face challenges that you don’t, like fear of discrimination and violent hate crimes. What’s more, they may also have to deal with people who don’t understand why they face these challenges in the first place. By recognizing your privilege, you can take a step toward understanding these issues and minimizing the ways that your privilege may be getting in the way of being a better ally.
As mentioned above, the LGBTQ community faces a number of challenges that someone without those identities may not have to face. While those challenges exist, it’s important to be proactive in supporting the LGBTQ community in real and meaningful ways.
What does “proactive” even mean? It means taking initiative to help address issues that affect the LGBTQ community. For example, if you know that a Pride event is being held in your area, attend it! You don’t have to go alone – bring friends or significant others and make it a fun event for everyone. Even if you don’t have a significant other, you can still attend and have fun. If you’re still in school, you can take part in any Pride events taking place on campus. You can also donate money to LGBTQ organizations and support the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other Pride charities.
As we mentioned above, attending Pride events are a good way to show support for the LGBTQ community. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to one day. Plan to attend other events organized for the LGBTQ community. If you’re not sure where to go, seek them out online. You can find LGBTQ events in your area by using websites like Out In Texas or Pride Guide. You can also check your school’s LGBTQ club or organization to see what kinds of events they’re hosting. If you want to get even more involved, you can also volunteer at Pride events. This can be a fun way to meet new people and get more involved in the community.
Safe spaces – places where everyone is welcome and can be themselves without judgment – are incredibly important for the LGBTQ community. They are places where members of that community can go and feel accepted, even when they’re not in their own home or with their families. Learning about and understanding safe spaces is one of the most critical ways in which you can show support for the LGBTQ community.
What are safe spaces, and how can you find them? Safe spaces are places where LGBTQ people can feel completely comfortable and at home. They may be places like LGBTQ clubs on campus, support groups, Pride events, or even certain online platforms. They can also be places like your home or dorm room. If you have LGBTQ friends, you can let them know you’d be happy to make your home a safe space for them when they need it. You can also try to find online platforms where LGBTQ people can find support and feel accepted. You can talk to LGBTQ people in your life and see if they have any suggestions. You can also check out websites like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, which often provide resources and information for people looking to learn about LGBTQ issues.
As an ally, you may want to do research on the best ways to talk about and support the LGBTQ community. A good first step is to learn about the language and vocabulary used by the LGBTQ community and make an effort to use it in your everyday life. This can be a small gesture, but it can make a big difference in showing your support. Words like "gay" or "queer" have negative connotations for many LGBTQ people, and you may not even realize it. By making an effort to use the right words, you can show that you respect and understand the LGBTQ community.
What other ways can you do this? Another important thing to keep in mind is that certain words or phrases can trigger certain emotions in people. For example, the word "cure," often used by people who are against the LGBTQ community, can be very triggering for the LGBTQ community.
It’s important to not only listen to the LGBTQ community, but also to the people around you who aren’t part of that community. This will help you to better understand and support the challenges that all people, LGBTQ or not, may be facing.
What does “good listening” involve? This means actively listening to the person speaking and having patience while they work through their thoughts and feelings. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything the person says, but it does mean that you’re actively listening without interrupting. You can show that you’re actively listening by making eye contact, not interrupting, and using open-ended questions like, “What do you mean when you say __?”
Safe spaces are places where people can feel comfortable, accepted, and not judged for who they are. People often go to safe spaces to connect with others who share the same identity and experiences as them. There are safe spaces for many different identities, including but not limited to LGBTQ+ people, people of color, survivors of abuse, and people with disabilities.
As an ally, one of the best ways you can support the LGBTQ community is to get involved with safe spaces. This can take many different forms, like attending events and meetups put on by LGBTQ+ organizations, volunteering your time to help out in LGBTQ+ services, or becoming a moderator on an online forum or discussion board where people can go to connect with others who share similar identities.
Words matter, especially when it comes to marginalized groups. “Gay” is a word that many LGBTQ+ people do not like to be called, and “queer” is a word that many people still use to describe their identity (regardless of sexuality). There are also many negative words used to describe LGBTQ+ people, like “faggot” and “dyke.” By being aware of the words used by the LGBTQ community, you can show that you respect and understand the challenges that they face.
What other ways can you do this? One way to show that you understand the challenges that the LGBTQ community faces is to learn about Pride. What is Pride, and why is it important? What are the origins of Pride? How is Pride celebrated in various parts of the world? By learning about Pride, you’ll better understand why it’s important to the LGBTQ community and be able to show your support as an ally.