Being an LGBTQ+ ally can be tricky, especially for those who are not familiar with the community and their struggles. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many little things you can do to show your support for the community and be a source of positive reinforcement. Here are a few of them:
Follow Some Blogs
As an ally, it is important you have an idea about the struggles of the community and the challenges that they face on a regular basis that hetero and cis-gender people don’t need to. While the best way is to talk to a community member, following some blogs is a good way to be more familiar with the community. There are LGBT family travel blogs, food and fashion blogs, and so many more to choose from. Even if you have people who are comfortable to share their stories with you. Following blogs gives you another perspective. And if you don’t, reading experiences can help you build an understanding of how you can give reassuring signs of being a true ally. Little details can have big impacts
2.Support Their Work
From Hollywood to poetry to painting, every art is dominated by hetero and cis-gender artists. Given the discrimination they face and the fear related to it, the genre has become a hostile space for LGBTQ+ people to bring out their best in. It takes a lot of courage for artists to come out given their career may be on the line. But when they do, they need all the support they can get. You can show yours with simple things like tweeting in support, reading their books, supporting LGBTQ+ artists being cast for LGBTQ+ characters, listen to their music. These little things make a big impact on making your stand clearer. All you have to do is just appreciate their talent.
3.Don’t Add to the Pressure
One of the biggest mistakes allies tend to make is that they see the LGBTQ+ members as the representatives of the entire community. This strips the members of the right to make mistakes like a normal human being on an individual level. It is crucial as an ally that you understand even LGBTQ+ people are people. Some are good, some bad. The mistakes or bad behavior of one does not define the entire community. SUch mindset of allies puts immense pressure on the members to be perfect in every way since they are to represent their community through their individual actions.
4.Ask For The Pronouns
As a member of the community, I understand it can be difficult to know who prefers what pronouns. But the easiest way to be clear on that is to ask the concerned person. Especially for transgender and non-binary people, pronouns are an important symbol of their identity and using their preferred ones are a sign that you respect them as they are. This is even more so if you’ve known the person for a long time. It may be difficult at first, but with conscious efforts, you can make them feel more secure and acknowledged around you, just as it should be around a true ally.
Given the discrimination and harsh treatment they’re awarded once they come out, it is justified on the part of LGBTQ+ people to be uncomfortable or even scared of coming out to their friends and family. It is our duty to make them feel safe enough to be themselves even if it is different from us or what we believe them to be. And while the journey is long, little steps are a good start.