If you know someone who is a member of the LGBTQ community, whether that be a friend, family member, or a colleague, it is important that you show your support. According to a 2020 study by American Progress and NORC at the University of Chicago, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people still suffer discrimination in public areas because of their sexual orientation. With that in mind, it is important that allies do their part to make the LGBTQ community feel included and represented. But how can this be done? Below are a few suggestions.
Go to LGBTQ Events
LGBTQ events are becoming increasingly popular as a celebration of the community. Attending these events shows you are a public supporter of the community and want to express your love and acceptance. The good people at OutCoast believe that attending events such as Orlando Pride will go a long way when it comes to demonstrating your support for the gay community.
You can show that you are engaged when someone is discussing LGBTQ topics by actively listening to what they are saying. Active listening includes things like nodding while people are talking, allowing them to speak without interrupting, and asking questions regarding what they are talking about. You may not relate to what they are going through, but you can always listen and be empathetic when they are talking to you.
Defend Them When They Are Not Present
It is important to always have your friend’s back, especially if they are not present to defend themself. If you hear someone making inappropriate comments or jokes about a person’s sexuality or the LGBTQ community in general, point out that their comment is offensive and educate them as much as possible. You can also point them in the direction of LGBTQ charities or organizations that provide useful information.
Learn About LGBTQ
One of the most important things an ally can do is learn about the LGBTQ community. Read up on what is going on in your local area in terms of LGBTQ rights, events, and businesses to try and support the community as much as possible. Showing a willingness to learn proves that you are a friend to LGBTQ people and that you wish to educate yourself as much as possible.
Own Up to Mistakes
We all know everyone makes mistakes – it is a part of life. However, it is important that you own up to mistakes you have made. It may be that you have used the incorrect pronouns for someone you know, or you have said something that has caused offence to a member of LGBTQ community. It is important that you apologize to who you have offended and ask for guidance on how to prevent this from happening in the future. Learn from your mistakes and make sure you support others.
There are a variety of things you can do to show your support to the LGBTQ community. You can attend local LGBTQ events to publicly show solidarity with them. Another way is to actively listen when speaking to an LGBTQ friend, asking questions, and allowing them to share thoughts without interrupting. Learning about the community demonstrates that you want to educate yourself on the history of LGBTQ and existing rights and issues regarding the topic. Lastly, you must ensure that you own up to any mistakes you make. Showing that you recognize your mistakes and want to educate yourself proves that you are willing to better yourself. You may not think you are doing much, but showing even the smallest amount of support will go a long way.