LGBTQ people are nine times more likely to become the victim of a violent hate crime than their cisgender and straight peers, a recent analysis by The Williams Institute at UCLA found. More than ever, we need to encourage kindness in our schools, our homes, our communities, and with each other. You can help protect, support, and validate the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community by being an ally. Here are just 3 ways to get started:
1) Educate yourself + stay informed.
- Learn LGBTQ+ inclusive language and use it: As an ally, you shouldn’t assume someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and you should learn how to use the proper pronouns and words when describing someone’s gender identity, sexual orientation, or referring to someone. You can check out this inclusive language guide courtesy of GLAAD, and as always, if you’re not sure, ask!
- At work, include your pronouns in your email signature. This is a simple way to foster an environment that is welcoming, safe, and open to everyone.
- Learn how you can create safe and inclusive spaces in-person and online.
- Join your school’s Genders & Sexualities Alliances (GSA) Club or start your own if you don’t have one. GSA’s are student-led and student-organized school clubs that aim to create a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Check out news sites that centers LGBTQ+ stories, such as them, “a platform for all of the bold, stylish, and rebellious ways that LGBTQ+ people are reshaping our world every day.”
- Learn about the history of Pride and stay updated on the latest events involving the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Above all, listen to what the needs of the people within the community are and follow their lead.
2) Amplify LGBTQ+ creators, organizations, and community spaces.
Use your voice of privilege to amplify the voice of others without it. Whether you share about these organization online, volunteer with them, or donate if you have the means, by centering the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, you can ensure they are heard and validated.
Organizations to support:
- The Trevor Project – the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. Volunteer. Donate.
- It Gets Better – uplifts, empowers, and connects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe. Volunteer. Donate.
- Youth Pride Association – works to promote and foster the acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth in educational institutions. Volunteer. Donate.
- Immigration Equality – an immigrant rights organization providing free, direct legal services to LGBTQ immigrants in the United States and around the world. Volunteer. Donate.
- The Sylvia Rivera Law Project – provides legal aid to low income individuals and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming (TGNCI). Volunteer. Donate.
Creators to follow:
- Zaya Perysian (@zayaperysian) is a Black trans woman who creates educational videos to help de-stigmatize the lives of trans women.
- Kevin Norman (@kevintnorman) is a Latinx creator who is known for his LGBTQ+ book club.
- Sade (@sfram ) is a nonbinary creator who often discusses gender identity and fiercely encourages folks to always be their true self.
- Cy (@cylovesfrogs) is a queer, Vietnamese-American creator passionate about destigmatizing conversations around mental health and intersectional, LGBTQ+ topics.
Community spaces to amplify:
- Lavender Book: A community-driven platform built for the Black Queer, Black Trans, and Black Gender Non-Binary communities, Lavender Book’s mission is to spread the word about spaces where people can be themselves.
- Asexual Outreach – A hub for the ace and aro community, this website enables and encourages those who identify as ace and aro people to reach out for support, connect with others, and find resources in their area.
3) Do your civic duty:
LBGTQ+ rights are human rights, and on a local, regional, and national scale, you can help protect those rights.
- To ensure you can advocate for LGBTQ+ lives and protect their rights, register to vote in your state.
- Contact your representative to encourage them to protect LGBTQ+ rights.
- PEN America reports that the 2022-23 school year has seen an escalation of book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States, a great number of them being books that center LGBTQ+ characters or themes. Check out how you get advocate against book bans or donate an LGBTQ+ centered book to Free Little Libraries.
- Engage with brands, support businesses, and shop in places that support the LGBTQ+ community. You can find a worldwide map of queer-owned businesses at Everywhereisqueer.com
- If you have the means, donate to Centerlink to support LGBTQ+ mental health.
Remember, Pride Month is only just 30 days, but being an ally requires you to practice giving your support, love, and validation each and every day of the year.