BE AN ALLY!
First and foremost, Happy Pride Month! Pride month is celebrated every June to recognize the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community throughout history around the world. Parades, parties, rallies, and other demonstrations are held globally in which LGBTQIA+ people and allies not only dress in rainbow colors and celebrate, but also perform, give speeches and more to continue to push for cultural and political change.
If you are someone who is not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Pride Month presents a chance for you to express your support for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or other LGBTQ people in your life. Navigating how to appropriately be an ally can be tricky, but your support can help LGBTQIA+ people feel heard and safe as well as be used to amplify LGBTQIA+ voices as they advocate for equal rights.
Below are just some of the ways you can do your part as an ally not only this Pride month but also all year long to support the LGBTQIA+ people in your life.
1. Educate yourself
Let's make this very clear, do not expect your loved ones to educate you. You need to show them you care by putting in the time and work to understand them and the issues they are passionate about. There are so many resources out there from books to articles to guides from LGBTQIA+ nonprofits, as well as movies and documentaries. Knowing about LGBTQIA+ history, culture and activism will help you be a better and more informed ally. Making an effort to continue learning is one of the most important things you can do as you get older.
2. Let them come out in their own time!
This is very important to know and understand, being supportive is one of many ways to be a better friend. Support the LGBTQIA+ people in your life by letting them come out in their own time. If you suspect that someone you know or love is LGBTQIA+, please don’t call them out on it, interrogate them or pressure them to tell you. You might feel that it’s about you or they don’t trust or care about you. According to the Human Rights Council, they simply may not be ready, may not feel safe, or may still be coming to terms with their own sexual orientation or gender identity so please respect their privacy and wait for that person to tell you on their own terms.
3. Speak up
Being a good friend or family member means having your LGBTQIA+ friend’s back. If you hear someone using a slur, making a disparaging remark, or telling a joke that stereotypes LGBTQIA+ people, you need to speak out against it — even if it isn’t directed at your loved one or they’re not around. Please make sure others know that you find it offensive.
4. Offer to inform other friends and family
You might have friends or family members that are not as understanding or accepting of LGBTQIA+ issues and identities as you would like them to be. They may even be outwardly prejudiced and discriminatory toward LGBTQIA+ people. It might feel too risky, but you can take the step to engage in hard conversations that could ultimately be constructive. It might be possible that the person who doesn’t know what they said or did is offensive. Because an understanding of sexuality and gender is still largely limited and prejudice prevails, you may have some friends and family who are not as pro-LGBTQIA+ as you would like them to be. Don’t just let this slide or avoid the conversation. Change starts at home, and you want to get through to the people you care about.
Becoming an ally might change how you want to spend your time and money as well. Reach out to organizations that are raising awareness and advocating for LGBTQIA+ issues that are important to you or your loved one and ask how you can help. Donating money to organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community is just one act of kindness you can do from your couch.
We've decided to make it a little easier for you to get started but still put in the time to research and educate yourself on the cause (This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list, and we’ll continue to add to it as events evolve.)