LGBTQ+ Education

Improving Allyship During Pride Month and Beyond: A Guide by Lisa

As ⁣we step into Pride‌ Month, the visibility of LGBTQ+ individuals is at an all-time high. From Jake Daniels, the first English footballer to publicly come out in three decades, to the popular gay drama‍ ‘It’s A Sin’ becoming Channel 4’s most-watched show in years, and trans actor ⁤Yasmin Finney landing a significant role in ‘Doctor Who’. While this increased‍ visibility is a⁢ positive step, ⁢it also makes the community more vulnerable. Some perceive this shift as a threat, leading to discussions about ‘trends’ or ‘domination’. ⁣This is the double-edged sword of⁣ visibility – ⁣it makes you an easier target.

Therefore, the need for allies ‌remains crucial. But what does allyship ‌look like in a world that, on the surface, appears accepting? Is ‍it as⁣ simple as showing up to Pride Month adorned with a flag? Unfortunately, it’s⁣ not that simple.

Engage with LGBTQ+ culture

Participate actively. Engage with the creative output of the LGBTQ+ community. This includes ‌books, shows, movies, music that you might think are “for LGBTQ+ people”. The goal isn’t just education, but also entertainment. Understand our lives, ‍why we deserve to be at the heart of these⁣ narratives, whether they’re romances, horrors, intense dramas or light-hearted comedies. We’re just people, living our lives, sometimes with a bit more flair. (And yes, we can be ⁣mundane too, and that’s perfectly okay.) Support queer businesses as well, from PR firms to jewellery makers to sandwich shops – show your support by patronising our businesses.

Pronouns

Make it a norm to ask someone’s​ pronouns and state your own, even if you think it’s “obvious”. It’s about showing respect, making others feel comfortable, and acknowledging their equality. If you make a mistake, acknowledge⁢ it, and move on. There’s no need for a lengthy apology on social media.

Speak out

Merely saying you’re “okay” with LGBTQ+⁢ people isn’t enough. You might not have any LGBTQ+ friends, and that’s okay. But it’s important to ‍care about bigotry and ‌oppression even if it doesn’t directly affect ‌someone‍ you know. Don’t wait until you have a gay child or ​a trans friend who isn’t out yet to start caring. Start now. Challenge offensive jokes, explain why⁢ they’re wrong. Don’t shy away from confrontations – they’re often necessary for change. ‍Remember, you’re the majority, and change must come from you. We can provide the tools, but only you can use them. Being respectful shouldn’t only be when there’s an LGBTQ+ person⁣ in the room. Make⁣ it your default.

Strive to understand​ us better

Living in⁤ ignorance is a luxury – many long for the days‌ when they were oblivious to life’s harsh realities and had no responsibilities. But we all have to grow up. Most likely, an LGBTQ+ person had to grow​ up ⁣faster than you did. We’re open ‌to answering questions, but we can’t do all the work. ‌Doing your own research eases⁢ the burden on us. Familiarise yourself with the terms ​we use and respect them, instead of resorting to dismissive cliches. Remember, the LGBTQ+ community is diverse, and not everyone will have​ the same views. Some may even ⁣be unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean you should revoke your allyship. There’s no historical evidence of LGBTQ+ people posing a significant, consistent threat to straight, cisgender people (unless ⁢you consider having a better fashion sense and playing Madonna too ⁤loudly at your ‌barbecues a threat).

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