8 Ways To Be A Great LGBTQ➕ Ally
An LGBTQ➕ ally is someone who identifies as heterosexual and is cisgender, who supports equal rights, gender equality and LGBTQ➕ social movements. It’s always good to educate yourself about how to be a more supportive ally. Here’s our 8 tips.
LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history. The + is an inclusive symbol representing people of all identities within the community.
1. Understand the history of Pride
Understanding how far LGBTQ+ people have come is crucial in supporting LGBTQ+ people in their fight for equal rights. Stonewall have a great blog piece The Stonewall Uprising: 50 Years Of LGBT History. Meic is running an LGBTQ+ campaign during February – check out the blogs here.
2. Educate yourself on LGBTQ➕ language
Understanding different sexualities and gender identities is really important to being an LGBTQ+ ally. It’ll help you to understand more than just ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ and ‘male’ or female’. A good place to start would be Stonewall’s A-Z glossary of terms with definitions of what each term means.
3. 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.
4. Remember that people have the right to privacy
Often, LGBTQ+ people are bombarded with questions about their sexuality and gender identity. The community tackles questions about what being LGBTQ+ 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!
(Remember you can always contact Meic confidentially if you have any questions to ask or feelings to explore.)
5. Take a stand with LGBTQ➕ 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.
6. Check out LGBTQ➕ films, TV shows and books
LGBTQ+ people are massively underrepresented in media. Try to engage with some stories about LGBTQ+ people or with works of art created by LGBTQ+ people to support them. If you’re unsure where to start, check out TheSprout’s Top 10 Must Watches For LGBT+ History Month.
(Please be aware – some of these programmes may not be age appropriate for all of our readers. If you’re unsure, look for the programme on the Common Sense Media website, where they will give you an idea of what age it’s appropriate for. Or you could check with someone you trust.)
7. Buy from small LGBTQ➕ 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 LGBTQ+ individuals to support queer folk.
8. 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 them. Check out our How to Avoid Misgendering blog.
Want to talk?
If you need to talk confidentially about anything that’s worrying you, whether that be LGBTQ+ related or anything else, then Meic is here to listen and offer advice every day between 8am and midnight. Text, Call or chat to us online.