April 8, 2022

How To Be A Better Ally

In this golden age of LGBTQ acceptance and diversity, it's important to be a good ally. If you're not listening to the queer folks in your life, it's time to start. Here are some tips and tricks to being a good ally in 2021 and beyond.

1.  Treat LGBTQ people the same as you would any other person

It's not exactly rocket science that LGBTQ folks just want to live their lives like everyone else. They have jobs, they have families, and they go out on dates (maybe even on Pride). Show LGBTQ the same amount of respect that you would to any straight or cisgender person.

For transgender and nonbinary folks, this specifically means respecting what they call themselves and what pronouns they use - even if it's challenging for you personally. A great way to do this is to actively listen and then mirror the language. They may refer to themselves as a "they", or mention their name. Use those. If you've got a gay friend who refers to their partner, refer to their partner by the same title, be it "partner", "boyfriend", "husband", "wife" or something else entirely. If

2. Call Out Homophobia if you see it.

Homophobia and transphobia come from a place of thinking that LGBTQ people are different, unusual, not like everyone else. Some folks believe that their gods want them to ostracize those who are different. Don't let that happen.

Immediately call out bad behavior, whether it's from a stranger or friend. If it's a homophobic joke, you can try asking them to explain the joke and then tell them that it's not really that funny. If it's your relative, be sure to let them know that you don't spend time with homophobes.

3. Don't out someone on accident.

Outing someone is exposing something private or secretive to a third party. The ability to come out to someone is something that is personal and should be reserved for LGBTQ individuals themselves - not anyone else.

If you have a friend who is early in transitioning, refer to them as they want you to. Ask them questions about when it's ok to refer to them by new name/pronouns, and when it is not. Your friend likely has a specific idea of who they want to tell, and who they want to keep in the dark. Your friend knows their story best, and they will tell you when it's good to share.

4. Use resources - LGBTQ+ resources at school/work

If you're a teacher or professor, make sure your LGBTQ+ resources are up to date and visible. And if you've got questions, ask the resources available to you. Don't only rely on your queer friends to fill you in. There are plenty of resources, especially at bigger corporations and institutions, that will tell you how to interact appropriately.

5. Be an active ally - especially to your trans and gender non-conforming friends.

If you overhear someone misgendering or deadnaming a friend of yours, tell them that they're using the wrong language. If someone misgenders your friend, you can say "Hey, they go by XXX now. Be sure to talk about them properly."

Being an active ally also means showing up for LGBTQ people when they need it most - at marches, in fundraises, and in small businesses. Put your money where your mouth is, and your LGBTQ friends will love you even more.

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