Part 5 of our series on “How to be a better ally” covers things you can do, right now, to become a better ally to your LGBTQ+ friends!
Table of Contents
- Part 1: What Does Being an Ally Mean?
- Part 2: Breaking the Binary
- Part 3: History of Pride
- Part 4: Pride Flags
- Part 5: Things You Can Do (current)
Things You Can Do
Don’t make assumptions
One of the easiest ways to better understand any other person (or group of people) is to not make assumptions! Realize that different people can have drastically different journeys and the only way you can learn more about the world is to befriend people who aren’t exactly like you and to have authentic conversations with them.
It’s so easy to surround ourselves with people who are like us; it makes us feel comfortable and understood. But, perhaps, we need to be just a little uncomfortable in order to grow as people.
Do you have any friends who have large differences in their lives from you? Are they a different race, religion, or gender? Do they have a different belief system or do they originate from a place different from you? If so, engage with them in it. 9 times out of 10, if you’re respectful, open, and authentic with your friends about wanting to discuss who they are and what makes them tick, you’ll be met with kindness and, hopefully, an eye-opening conversation.
Use correct pronouns
This should fall under “don’t make assumptions”, but we felt it was important enough to call out on its own.
Pronouns are super important; we use them way more than actual names when referring to people. For that reason, it’s super important to use the correct pronouns when referring to someone and to, you guessed it, not make assumptions!
There are a few ways you can go about doing this:
- Lead with your own. When you meet someone new, start by stating your name and pronouns. There’s a good chance this will be a cue to the other person to do the same. Two things to note here: 1) know your audience. There’s a good chance that many people aren’t familiar with listing their pronouns, so gauge your audience and be willing to explain what you are doing, as well. 2) be consistent. If you meet three people in a row and only use your pronouns with one of the people, it’s going to look weird, like you were assuming the other two people’s pronouns. So just be consistent.
- Add pronouns to sign up sheets and name tags. There are tons of ways to normalize pronouns. If you’re hosting an event or a mixer, there’s bound to be a signup sheet or name tags. Use this opportunity to allow people to specify their pronouns by adding extra space. We find it best not to give a list to choose from, but instead to use an open-ended blank for people to fill in. This helps make less-mainstream pronouns feel more included.
- Wear your pronouns. If you want to be seen as truly intentional, grab yourself a pronoun pin or button to wear to mixers. As a matter of fact, our Pride Box contains a collection of cute pronoun buttons.
If you’re reading this document, it means you’re already on the journey of self-education, and that makes you pretty awesome. Educating yourself means opening your mind to ideas and perspectives that you may not have been exposed to before. It means challenging the way you think and being open to new perspectives. Here are some great resources for staying educated on LGBTQ+ issues:
- The Trevor Project – The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
- GLAAD – GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change.
- The Safe Zone Project – The Safe Zone Project (SZP) is a free online resource providing curricula, activities, and other resources for educators facilitating Safe Zone trainings (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions), and learners who are hoping to explore these concepts on their own.
- HRC – The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights and can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.
You’ve armed yourself with knowledge and now it’s time to do something with it. Whether it’s something big, like protesting and writing your senators, or something small like supporting local queer artists or just being a good friend to your LGBTQ+ friends, taking action can be both impactful and life-changing for everyone involved. Here are a few ways to take action in your day to day life:
- Trevor Ally Training – Trevor Ally Training is designed to create dialogue regarding what it means to be an adult ally for LGBTQ youth by informing participants about terminology used in the LGBTQ community, the process of “coming out” as an LGBTQ person and a discussion of the challenges faced by LGBT youth in their homes, schools and communities.
- PFLAG Advocacy 101 – Advocacy is a big part of the mission of PFLAG, with members and supporters working to achieve LGBTQ+ equality through changing hearts, minds, and laws. We work at the community level, at the city and state level, and at the federal level to effect change so that people who are LGBTQ+ are safe and equal in their communities.
- Straight For Equality – Since 1982, PFLAG has been a trusted resource for support, education, and advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. It now represents more than 400 chapters across the United States with more than 200,000 members and supporters. The Straight for Equality program was launched in 2007. This nationwide initiative expanded the organization’s efforts to include more people in the equality movement than ever before.
Show your pride
This one can be the most fun! Spend your money at LGBTQ+ vendors and stores and visibly show your support by rocking awesome pride-themed clothing and accessories.
A great way to find LGBTQ+ supportive businesses is the HRC Buyer’s Guide, but small businesses tend to flock more to marketplaces like Etsy. Just search for “pride” or “LGBT” and see what you can find.
Oh, and then there’s the Pride Pride Pride line of items! From our LGBTQ+ greeting cards to our soon-to-be-released Pride boxes, you’ll find something great for anyone who supports the LGBTQ+ community! Check out our latest Pride Box at https://pridepridepride.com/pride-boxes/.