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How can I be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community?
by Elise Parkes |
As you probably already know, June is Pride month – a time to celebrate, to elevate LGBTQ+ voices, to reflect and to bring attention to what else still needs to be done.
If you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community itself, how can you get involved in pride? The best way, to be a better ally, and not just during June but every day of the year too. So, what does that entail and how can you be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community?
- Don’t assume your friends, family members or co-workers are straight. Not making assumptions gives people the space they need to be authentically themselves.
- Educate yourself and understand the adversity LGBTQ+ people face. From the origins of Pride itself (a protest not a party) to current news, issues or petitions. Educate yourself, ask questions and stay informed.
- Speak up and support. If you hear someone say something offensive, say something and explain why it’s not ok, let them know their words or actions aren’t acceptable. Don’t just leave it to members of the community themselves, take initiate to offer your time and energy to educate others and change how they act in the future.
- Support equality. Write to your MP, speak up in the workplace, help make change happen. The world and systems we live in can have a huge impact on our lives. Your voice as an ally can help elevate those directly affected.
- Be conscious of language. From choosing the correct pronouns to using gender neutral language (e.g. asking someone if they're dating someone vs do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend) to avoid making assumptions. Put the effort in, treat people with respect, and if you make a mistake apologise quickly, use the correct language and then move on.
- Accept you will still make mistakes and hope that someone will call you out on it, so you keep on working to become a better ally. Make sure to confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Earlier this week you asked Ash (Glow Hub ambassador) your Q’s on being a better ally and celebrating pride. Here’s what he had to say…
How can I be a better ally?
There are so many things you can do! Here are just a few of them, but there’s plenty of info out there to find out more. Glaad has some great resources.
- Challenge transphobia when you see or hear it. Whether it’s from a stranger or your parent, be willing to call people out.
- Be careful not to out anyone. A person’s history is their business, and it is never up to you to divulge that information on their behalf.
- Respect a person’s chosen name and pronouns, and if you mess up, simply apologise, and move on without fuss.
- Understand that there is no one way to be trans. We are a wonderfully diverse community, and each of our experiences and relationship with our gender will be slightly different. Some people physically transition, some may not, and not everyone’s transition goals will be the same.
- When doing your own research, interrogate the source. Is this person biased, or spreading misinformation? A good litmus test is to check how trans people themselves feel about a source.
- Advocate for change!! Implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms, easier and faster access to healthcare, and legal recognition of non-binary gender identities are just a few of the issues that you could be adding your voice to.
- Most importantly, listen to trans voices! If you are actively listening, you’re already being a great ally!
Ash on Pride & being authentically himself …
What’s your favourite thing to do during pride month?
For me, pride month is a time to reflect on our history as a community, to be grateful for those who paved the way, and to bring attention to what else still needs to be done. That means being vocal, online and in real life!
Do you go to any pride events?
I love going to Pride in London! It was the first pride event I ever went to and I still love it today! I’m really not a fan of how commercialised it’s become, but I will always love the small community-led floats and groups, seeing them makes me so happy and I have the loveliest memories of going to this event with friends.
Being authentically yourself is amazing! Do you have any tips?
Don’t talk yourself out of being who you are! I used to worry that parts of my identity were conflicting with each other, I identify very male socially and yet my presentation is very feminine and informed by my experience growing up as a girl. But we are human and that means we’re complex, multi-faceted beings! You don’t have to be able to summarise yourself in a word (though some people like to), its ok if you don’t know how to explain yourself succinctly to others! Allow yourself to explore, cast aside what doesn’t make you happy and embrace what does. It also helps to learn not to care for the opinions of strangers.
Sources, help and information for this blog came from the below -
10 Ways to be an LGBTQ+ Ally –by Freddy McConnell, host of Pride & Joy podcast, BBC sounds
10 Ways to be an Ally & a Friend – GLAAD
Here’s what a good LGBTQ+ ally looks like – Ana Valens, vox.com
and Glow Hub ambassador @ashutoph