5 Ways To Be A Better LGBTQ+ Ally by Lily Chiu
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
1. Educate Yourself.
Learning about the history of oppression that the LGBTQ+ community has experienced is a vital first step in becoming a better ally. Resources are everywhere. Educating yourself on the history of the Gay Rights Movement and icons that have brought LGBTQ+ visibility to America should be on your to-do list.
2. Amplify LGBTQ+ voices
Big corporations are always capitalizing on the LGBTQ+ community. In a world where every company slaps a rainbow on their products during Pride month, society has begun to adopt a monolithic narrative surrounding queer identity, turning a blind eye towards the extreme struggles and discrimination queer people face. As a consumer, your job is to lift up LGBTQ+ voices, to not let them be silenced. Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is complicated, since there are so many issues that affect different groups. Youth homelessness, hate crimes, and problems within the criminal justice system are just a few issues the LGBTQ+ community experiences. Think before you buy another piece of rainbow merch, and promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the spaces you reside in. It is important to make space for those a part of the LGBTQ+ community, to let their voices be heard!
3. SPEAK UP when you hear homophobic comments
Shut down and address LGBTQ+ bullying. All people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, should be treated with dignity and respect. LGBTQ+ youth are at an especially high risk for peer victimization and bullying, so shutting down bullying is essential to being a better ally. Remember to hold others accountable for not calling out homophobic behaviour too. This includes letting your teachers or administration know when they aren’t doing enough to make classrooms and communities safe for queer kids. Educators and administrators set the dialogues of their institutions; failure to implement protections for LGBTQ+ folx means that queer students suffer from physical and psychological attacks, limiting their ability to learn. And as trans and non-binary students have become more visible, schools have not done nearly enough to ensure these students are treated as equals.
4. Support LGBTQ+-owned businesses and artists
The LGBTQ+ community has made significant contributions as artists, business owners, educators, and more. However, these contributions also act as a way to foster community. LGBTQ+ individuals should always be supported by their allies; art, music, food, and more can be used to fight misconceptions and empower identity.
5. Focus on ACTION!
Keeping up conscious efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community is part of the lifelong commitment of being an ally. Honest self-reflection, educating yourself, and centering the problems queer individuals experience are critical to long term change. Buy, share, like, follow, read, sign, stream, and uplift LGBTQ+ folx. There is always more work to be done!