Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
How To Be A True LGBTQ Ally And Supporter
Published Mar 22nd, 2021 & updated on Mar 25th, 2021
Being a LGBTQ ally requires more than just having a “gay best friend” (can we let that stereotype die once and for all pls?) or being a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. When it comes to allyship, it’s important to recognize the difference between actions that are performative and those that actuallyyy uplift the LGBTQ+ community. At DiveThru, we recognize that we can’t advocate for mental health without including marginalized groups in that conversation. That’s why we wanna talk about what it means to be a true ally to the Queer community!
These are a few ways you can support and uplift the LGBTQ+ community in a meaningful way.
1. Stay Informed
As a true LGBTQ ally, it’s your duty to stay informed on current issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also important to understand how sexual orientation and gender identity are linked to social inequality, and check your own biases and privilege at the door. If you haven’t already, start reading up on Queer history and culture. Don’t forget to learn the inclusive terminology too. In the wise words of Nicki Minaj, “do your fuckin’ research!”
2. Make Space For LGBTQ+ Voices
If you’re a cisgender and/or straight ally, using your privilege to amplify LGBTQ+ voices, and make space for them, is an absolute must. This means advocating for inclusivity in panels, festivals, workplaces, classrooms…you name it. Notice when you’re taking a space that would be better suited for someone in the community, and learn to speak WITH them, not for them. There should always be space and equal opportunities for the Queer community, so recognize the barriers that stand in their way, and call them out when you do!
3. Speak Out Against Discrimination
Confrontation can be uncomfortable and scary, but it doesn’t begin to compare to the hardships and trauma the LGBTQ+ community continually faces. That’s why speaking out against discrimination is 100% necessary as an ally. Whether it takes place online or in public, true allies don’t sit back and stay silent when members of a marginalized community are attacked. Use the privilege you have to call out any homophobic and transphobic slurs, harassment, or ignorance you see. It matters!
This one is pretty simple. Just listen. When you’re called out for your bias and privilege, listen. When you’re told how you can do better, listen. Queer voices have been silenced and ignored for so long, but as an ally you have the responsibility to help change. Listen to LGBTQ+ voices and support them however they need. We do alllll the best learning when we stop, collaborate and listen (sorry, had to)!
5. Normalize Pronoun Sharing
You’ve probably noticed your friends adding (he/him) or (she/her) in their Twitter bios and wondered if you should do the same. Hell ya, you should! Sharing your pronouns is super important as an ally, especially if you’re cisgender. By normalizing pronoun sharing, you’re creating a safe space for trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming members of the community.
Plus, it’s easy peasy! Just add your preferred pronouns in your social media bios, your email signature or anywhere else it applies and boom! You’re good to go. Sharing pronouns in conversation and using “they” and “them” when you’re not sure how someone identifies will also prevent misgendering someone. If you do misgender someone by accident, apologize and do better not to assume next time. Always, alwaysss refer to someone as their preferred pronouns and encourage others to do the same. It’s not up for debate!
6. Support Queer Events And Businesses
Showing up to marches, signing petitions and even volunteering for LGBTQ+ events shows you’re an ally who’s all about action. But again, remember when you do show up for an event like Pride that it’s not about you. These spaces are for the community and you’re there to listen, observe and show support.
Also, support LGBTQ-owned businesses, both online and in your neighbourhood. Shop at their stores, eat at their restaurants and recommend them to your friends. Even leaving a good review or posting about their business on social media goes a loooong way!
7. Get Political
True allies also use their voice to advocate, and vote, for policies and elected officials that support the LGBTQ+ community with not only their words, but their actions. This goes along with staying informed on social issues and inequalities that directly impact marginalized groups. So pay attention to political platforms and get involved in those important discussions, no matter how awkward you might feel at first. Your voice, and your votes, can make a difference!
Lastly, donate to LGBTQ+ charities and nonprofits when you’re able to do so. Even better, give back to your local Queer community! Research the LGBTQ+ initiatives and find out how you can donate. You can donate funds, donate products and services, or donate your time. There are some amazing organizations out there that provide counselling, mental health services, inclusive health care, education, residency and more to marginalized youth and adults. They need your support!
We hope this list gave you a better idea of how you can be a true ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Keep in mind your words and actions can make positive changes, so do your part! Now, sashay away.