Graphic by Marcelo Orrico.
With it being Pride Month, it’s important to advocate and be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. That doesn’t mean your allyship should end as soon as Pride Month ends. Being an ally means always supporting the LGBTQ+ community before and even after Pride Month.
Part of the reason why it’s important to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community is because there are many individuals who do not have a support system at home. According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of LGBTQ+ Americans have been rejected by their family members or friends because of their sexuality. This is just one of the few examples of the struggles that members of the community go through and why it’s important to support them.
It’s also important to support the LGBTQ+ community because it creates a safe space and allows for inclusivity. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community are BIPOC and being able to advocate and be there for them as an ally and friend is beyond important.
Read on for a few ways you can be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community.
There’s a difference between listening and actively listening. You have to be able to fully listen to what the other person is saying and engage in conversation. Learning from the experiences of others is one of the best ways of supporting them as it betters your awareness of how to help to achieve equality for all.
Writing posts on Facebook is awesome and it’s a great way to gain awareness but go that extra mile! Attend a rally, sign a petition and get that law passed!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! As long as they’re not invasive and insensitive, then ask all the questions you have. Most times, your queer friends will be happy to help you learn.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions to someone in the LGBTQ+ community then do some research! LGBT Social Work is a helpful site that provides countless definitions that you may not know about! Other resources like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, The Human Rights Campaign and The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition are helpful for learning LGBTQ+ vocabulary.
Overall, the best way to support the LGBTQ+ community is to simply be willing to support. If you’re not willing to actively listen and advocate, then you’re not an ally. It’s important to understand the hardships that many LGBTQ+ members go through and be able to support them as they discover who they are as a person.