Guys, gals, gays and theys; no matter how you identify, it doesn’t stop you from becoming an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
As we celebrate Pride Month, I’ve created a few tips on how you can become an ally and show your support towards your peers, and not only for the month of June.
Tip #1: Familiarise yourself on language that is used within the community.
This is a small, however crucial, step when it comes to showing your support towards the LGBTQ+ community. There are many ways in order to find this information out, such as going online or even asking your peers. By educating yourself on the terminology that is used within the community, it helps you to be more respectful of the people around you. The first step you could take is to learn about pronouns and ask your friends how they would like to be addressed! It may seem small, but it can be a huge deal to somebody who is struggling with their identity.
Tip #2: Avoid using slurs and harmful behaviour.
Since growing up, I have been made well aware of slurs that are used against the community. I know sometimes we want to come across as ‘cool’ or ‘funny’, however throwing out slurs such as ‘dyke’ and ‘faggot’ is simply not cool, nor funny. These words can have detrimental impacts on members of the community, causing harm and distress. So please, if there is one thing that you take from reading this, refrain from using slurs and educate the people around you if they are using slurs.
In addition to this, please be mindful about “outing” people. If someone puts their trust in you and comes out to you, double check how open they wish to be about it and never out a person to others! This is incredibly harmful behaviour and is never funny – take this from someone who was outed in secondary school.
Tip #3: Do some research!
Whilst googling terminology that the community use, doing some research into the history of LGBTQ+ activism is extremely important when becoming an ally. It is crucial that we appreciate just how far we, as a community, have come and just how much effort and sacrifice we have put in to be somewhat accepted. Even though we have come so far, there is still a lot of change that needs to happen, and you can help us make this change!
Tip #4: Understand what is going on around you now and get involved.
Once you’ve understood our history, it is essential that you know what is going on right now. Whether it’s googling what is happening within the community near you, or discovering important campaigns and support groups, your support can make a huge difference. Whether it’s donating, sharing information or even showing up to events, your support matters; and we are incredibly grateful.
Tip #5: voice your opinions and make a change.
Now that you know some history and have educated yourself on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, make your voice heard. Speak up when people are using slurs, or spreading false and inappropriate information about the community. Show up to campaign events or simply let people know that you support them and will listen to them. Change always starts small, and you can make a difference!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, by doing so you’re already one step closer to being an ally!