Allies can be some of the most effective and powerful voices in the LGBTQ+ movement, especially when they work together. Here are a few ways you can be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
Be receptive to learning, listening, and educating yourself
Developing a thorough awareness of how the world perceives and treats your LGBTQ+ friends and family members is an important part of supporting them. It may seem obvious, but in order to actually learn, you must first be willing and open to hearing what they have to say. Listen attentively to your friend’s personal story and respectfully ask questions. Take it upon yourself to educate yourself about the history, language, and problems that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and continues to confront in today’s world. Though it is possible that your buddy will be eager to answer your inquiries, keep in mind that they are not a living LGBTQ+ library. In this particular circumstance, the Internet is a tremendous resource. For example, learn more about the history of the pansexual pride flag.
Be aware of your privileges
Everyone, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, benefits from privileges ranging from race, class, and educational advantages to being cis-gendered, physically able-bodied, and sexually open to the world. Just because you have been fortunate does not mean that you haven’t experienced your own set of difficulties in life. Just know that there are some aspects of your life that you will never have to consider or worry about simply because of the way you were born. Recognizing your own privileges can assist you in empathizing with marginalized or oppressed groups in your community.
Never make assumptions
Do not make the mistake of assuming that all of your friends, coworkers, and even housemates are heterosexual. Do not make assumptions about a person’s gender or pronouns. There is no specific appearance for LGBTQ+ people, and a person’s current or past does not define their sexual orientation. Someone close to you may be in need of assistance; refraining from making assumptions will allow them the room they require to be their real selves and open up to you at their own convenience.
Action, not label
It is convenient to refer to yourself as an ally, but the title alone is not sufficient. Oppression is a relentless force that never rests. Being an effective ally means being willing to maintain consistency in your support of LGBTQ+ rights and in your defense of LGBTQ+ individuals who are being discriminated against by others. When anti-LGBTQ+ jokes or statements are made, let your friends, family, and coworkers know that you find them offensive because you are an ally. Creating true acceptance and respect requires the participation of all parts of society, and your unwavering and continuous support will hopefully serve as a model for others to follow.
Look at your own biases
Being an ally means that you will frequently find yourself having to confront any biases, preconceptions, and assumptions that you were previously unaware of. Remember to consider the jokes you tell, the pronouns you use, and whether or not you incorrectly believe someone’s partner is of a specific sex or gender-based on the way they seem and act.
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