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Being an LGBTQIA+ ally means understanding a few things about your place
Pride Month is a time to surround ourselves with LGBTQIA+ culture, to revel in the diversity and vitality of the stories queer people tell about themselves and their surroundings. It’s a time to seek out queer joy and connection. It’s also a time to renew our commitment to building a more equitable world.
How to be an ally has become an increasingly popular discussion this year, but many are confused about what exactly it means to be an ally. Here are 8 ways you can be a good LGBTQIA+ ally :
8 Ways TO Be A Better LGBTQIA+ Ally
1. Educate yourself !
Research, research and more research ! Learn about the history of oppression that LGBTQ+ people have experienced is a VITAL first step in becoming a better ally. Attend LGBTQIA+ cultural and community events. Read LGBTQIA+ literature, books, and articles. Unlearning biases is along process, continuous education keeps up the momentum.
On 19th June 2021 (2-4 pm SG time), Inter-University LGBT Network is organising an allyship workshop for the parents and family members of LGBTQ+ members over Zoom as part of our line-up for Pink Fest 2021 ! Feel free to sign up and come together as a family. This rendition of our Allyship Workshop will equip family members with the necessary skills to better support their LGBTQ+ children, as well as the skills to stand up to discrimination!
2. Listen and more listen !
To best understand how to be a good ally, listen to what they are telling you.
If there are local speakers on the subject, attend and be attentive. Podcasts are another great resource! Consider checking out (insert podcast NPR’s “Code Switch”) and (insert podcast Reni Eddo-Lodge’s “About Race,” about the experiences of BIPOC in America) or (insert podcast).
If your friends who are a part of marginalised LGBTQIA+ communities, decide to engage with you on the subject of discrimination, listen to them and offer support where appropriate. As an ally, your job is to listen and learn.
3. Don’t assume
Don’t assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.
4. Check your privilege
Do Being an authentic ally is more than just virtue signalling – it’s about doing the ‘work’ by continuously checking your privilege, especially if you are CISGENDER. For example, if you have the ability to walk through the world and generally blend-in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression or you can use public restrooms without fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest; you have CISGENDER privilege.
5. Confront your own prejudices and bias
Do confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. You can start by using inclusive, affirming, or gender-neutral language when referring to romantic relationships and sexuality. If you use terms such a s “partner”, “companion”, “s.o./significant other”, “main squeeze”, you convey openness to different kinds of partnerships. Language matters.
If people jump to the conclusion that you are gay/lesbian/bisexual because you speak out about gay oppression or are otherwise supportive, are seen hugging a same-gender friend, etc., resist the impulse to point out that you are not gay. Let yourself experience the oppression that gay/lesbian/bisexual people suffer; it will enrich your sensitivity and empathy.
6. Believe that all people, should be treated with dignity and respect
Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
You may have your rights (because of where you live, how you grew up, your specific identity), but you don’t deserve to call yourself an ally unless you fight for other’s rights too. Pride is about refusing to feel ashamed and live in the shadows. The purpose is in the name “Pride”: to rejoice in our identities and be visible and happily so. Pride is about visibility – of love, of acceptance, of equality- and to say you’re against Pride is to say you’re against all of these things.
7. Speak up and challenge homophobic, transphobic jokes, comments and misrepresentation
Don’t just practice performative allyship. Call out, speak up and challenge homophobic and transphobic jokes and the use of homophobic and transphobic epithets whenever you hear them; do not wait for LGBTQIA+ individuals to do it.
Last but not least, find ways to incorporate allyship into your daily lives. Supporting LGBTQIA+ businesses, artists, and more allow you to directly impact their communities. Stand up for them even when they are not in the room. And when you decide to take acton for them, ask yourself: are you doing this because it’s with the intention of being a true ally, or because it will make you look good?
8. Breathe, apologise, and ask for guidance
Being an ally is an ongoing process, and you are bound to say or do the wrong thing at certain points. Know that you will mess up sometimes. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through trial and error. The important thing is to acknowledge when you’re wrong, and to not make those same mistakes again. Essentially: welcome failure, but learn from it.
Also Read :
Pride Month : LGBTQIA+ Glossary Every Ally Should Know
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