Being a good ally to your friends can be going out for food, having their backs when they need it, as well as tagging each other in memes. But what does an LGBTQ+ Ally looks like?
An ally is someone who stands up for, supports, and encourages the people around them. It’s a term that is commonly used in the LGBTQIA+ community. Being an ally usually refers to a heterosexual and/or cisgender person who tries to make the world a better place for people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
Being an ally means:
- doing whatever is possible to call out discrimination and to fight for equality
- trying to make the world a better place for anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+.
- supporting equal rights for everyone – irrespective of gender, religion, race, or sexual orientation
So, how can you be a good ally and a friend? Here are a few steps that will help you get started.
- Learn about issues that are crucial to the community-Talk to LGBTQIA+ individuals, read books and other publications, listen to podcasts, and go to companies or websites maintained by members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Immerse yourself as much as possible in their environment to acquire a sense of what it's like to walk in their shoes. Taking their perspective will help you understand them better.
Take care of the people in your life who need support-Keep an eye on those you know who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, whether they are friends, relatives, classmates, or coworkers. Being an ally also entails being available for others when they need you. To keep their spirits up, provide your shoulder to cry on, give them space to vent, or spend time with them doing something they enjoy (the same things you’d do for someone you care about).
Be visible and support the community as much as you can- This entails attending protests and events, opposing homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia wherever you see it, and supporting LGBTQIA+-owned or managed companies, organizations, and other efforts.
Talk to the people around you and support them to be an ally, too-Being an ally for one group of people can open your eyes to the possibility of being an ally for everyone. It is not important that all people fit in one category. 'Intersectionality' is a phrase that refers to a person's multiple identities and social classifications. If a person who identifies as LGBTQIA+ is also a person of colour or has a handicap, they may face discrimination due to each of these characteristics. As a result, when you advocate for one marginalized group, you are advocating for all of them. We need to be intersectional allies to be effective allies, which means we can't merely fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. (Rights of all the marginalized communities come together)
- Be aware of the space you take up-If someone asks you about the LGBTQIA+ community or wants your perspective on an issue, suggest books, periodicals, podcasts, or social media accounts for them to follow. This lets everyone in the community hear the folks speak for themselves. We must strive for equality for all people, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, handicap, or sexual orientation.
Remember: you really can make a difference to other people.
What can you do?
Whether we are parents, friends, or healthcare providers, we can all play a part in supporting the LGBTQ+ community with our words and with our actions. (and it might take some unlearning on our side)
Positive human connection is critical when it comes to boosting your mood. Surround yourself with people who love you, believe in you, cheer for you, hear you, and listen to you.
- Become an active ally. Make it a regular practice to show up for your friends, neighbours, and family and be their support system! Read about LGBTQIA+ experiences online. Attend a Pride event. Understand the difference between sex, gender, and sexuality.
- Always ask about someone's preferred pronouns, and use them! At work, take the first step by putting your pronouns in your social media handles.
- For trans-identifying individuals, do not ask their birth name or about their transition. Respect their privacy and personal preferences.
- Show your acceptance through words. Listening is one thing—responding with positive words and affirmations is another. Be aware of the language you are using.
- Take a moment to share your appreciation for someone in your life who identifies as LGBTQIA+.
As we celebrate Pride month in June, many come together to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. But it's important to be an ally every day. At the end of the day, we are all humans- equally alike, and we all deserve to live equally and respectfully.