An LGBT+ ally is someone who identifies as heterosexual and is cisgender, yet supports equal rights, gender equality and LGBT+ social movements. Even if you mean well, it’s always good to educate yourself about how to be a more supportive ally. Let’s take a look at 8 ways that you can be a great LGBT+ ally.
Understand the history of Pride
Understanding how far LGBT+ people have come is crucial in supporting LGBT+ people in their fight for equal rights. TheSprout has articles on LGBT+ History Month, the History of the LGBT+ Pride Flag and Important People in LGBT+ History. Engaging with these articles is a great place to start.
Educate yourself on LGBT+ language
Understanding different sexualities and gender identities is really important to being an LGBT+ ally. It’ll help you to understand more than just ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ and ‘male’ or female’.
Don’t say “that’s gay”
If you say, “that’s gay’, question your language. You probably didn’t mean it in reference to homosexuals, however, using it in a negative fashion is offensive. Try to be aware of the language you use and what it might mean to other people.
Remember that people have the right to privacy
Often, LGBT+ people are bombarded with questions about their sexuality and gender identity. The community tackles questions about what being LGBT+ means, their experiences and attitudes to progressive laws. It’s okay to ask questions respectfully but try to research and understand things yourself first if you can. Google can answer almost anything!
Take a stand with LGBT+ people
Being a good ally doesn’t just mean waving a rainbow flag at a Pride parade, wearing glitter and singing your heart out to Lady Gaga. Try to tackle discrimination and prejudice by speaking up, signing petitions and attending protests for positive change.
Check out LGBT+ films, tv shows and books
LGBT+ people are massively underrepresented in media. Try to engage with some stories about LGBT+ people or with works of art created by LGBT+ people to support them. If you’re unsure where to start, check out TheSprout’s Top 10 Must Watches For LGBT+ History Month.
Buy from small LGBT+ businesses
There’s no need to walk around head to toe in rainbow 24/7 to show that you’re a good ally. However, if you’re attending an event where you’d like to be a little more colourful, shop carefully. It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying from big corporations profiting from Pride. Try to be aware of this and find small businesses owned by LGBT+ individuals to support queer folk.
Acknowledge that you’ll make mistakes
Sometimes people get things wrong, and that’s okay – nobody is perfect. A prime example of this is misgendering someone or using incorrect pronouns. If you find yourself doing this accidentally, don’t beat yourself up too much. Just apologise and correct yourself! It’s always good practise to ask somebody their pronouns to avoid misgendering, though.
Whether you are LGBT+ or would like to support someone who is, you can find help and advice here.
Unsure what LGBT+ means? Have a look at TheSprout’s LGBT+ Glossary.