Want To Be An Ally To The LGBTQ+ Community? Here Are 8 Things You Can Do
By Nitika on June 28, 2022
While homosexuality has been decriminalized in India, the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community is nowhere near over. You can show your support for the movement by being an ally to the community. In simple words, an ally is a straight and cisgender individual supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.
Whether a friend recently came out to you or you’re looking to become a better ally, here are a few useful things to keep in mind.
Do Your Research
It’s never the responsibility of your friends or relatives to explain various issues and concepts to you.
You need to do your research to learn more about the community and the associated struggles. Browse the internet, read books, watch movies, listen to podcasts and consume other media to educate yourself.
Listen, Don’t Assume
Be a better listener. Instead of assuming what your queer friend is feeling or going through, let them tell you. This is also an excellent learning opportunity to become a better ally.
Moreover, don’t assume someone’s sexuality, pronoun or gender based on the way they look or talk.
Whether someone is misgendering a person or using a homophobic slur, call them out. You can also express your allyship on social media and sign petitions.
Extend Your Support Offline
Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for amplifying your voice online. Even with a few hundred followers, you can make a difference. That being said, it’s also important to take your support offline. You can attend marches and protests and volunteer at LGBTQ+ non-profits.
It’s Not Just a ‘Joke’
There’s nothing funny about using certain terms that are clearly offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. Educate yourself about homophobic slurs and refrain from using them. You should also speak up when people in your social circle use such terms as a ‘joke’.
Moreover, using wrong pronouns and deadnaming are also disrespectful and invalidating practices.
Address Your Prejudices
You probably have certain innate biases and prejudices, which may be caused by personal experiences, your upbringing or society in general. You may have been homophobic or transphobic in the past without realising. It’s crucial to recognise such instances and unlearn internalised homophobia.
From workplaces to social settings, the LGBTQ community faces blatant discrimination and ostracism in various areas of life. Create an inclusive environment to make your LGBTQ coworkers, friends and family feel included.
Even if you are straight and/or cisgender, mention your pronouns in your email signature and social media bios. This can further encourage inclusivity.
Be Comfortable with Making Mistakes
You can’t just wake up one day and become the perfect ally. In your allyship journey, you’re bound to make mistakes – and that’s okay! The thing that actually matters is what you do after making a mistake. Do you try to sweep it under the rug? Or do you address it and take action to do better in the future?
The latter, of course! Don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes, we’re all learning.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you can do, it’s a good place to start. In addition to the aforementioned tips, you should also consider donating to LGBTQ+ organisations if you have the means to do so.