Anyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, can be an ally to LGBTQ+ youth. Having a clear understanding of LGBTQ+ issues is a gateway to supporting the community. If you are looking forward to becoming a good LGBTQ+ ally, here are some definitions for the term “ally” and some tips for becoming one.
What Does the Term “Ally” Mean?
- This is a person who supports the LGBTQ+ community and champions equality and fair treatment
- A person who is genuinely concerned about the LGBTQ+ community well-being
- A person who stands up for LGBTQ+ persons in their defense against any kind of attack
How to Become an Ally to LBGTQ+ Youth
Below are the steps you can take to become a good LGBTQ+ ally.
Shutdown anti-LGBTQ+ behavior
Speak up against any sort of anti-LGBTQ+ behavior. The LGBTQ+ community experiences discrimination and bullying on most occasions. If an LGBTQ+ person is bullied or discriminated against in your presence, stand up, intervene, or find someone who can do it better.
If your friends or co-workers engage in anti-LGBTQ+ jokes, you should educate them on using non-hurtful language since they could be hurting someone unknowingly.
If you are not up to date with the difference between sex and gender or other issues related to the LGBTQ+ community, you should educate yourself first before addressing an LGBTQ+ member. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do some research and be honest about what you don’t know. You can read about this community on LGBTQ+ related blogs.
How to Be an Ally to LGBTQ+ Youth – Support Equality
Be an equality champion at school, work, and other places where LGBTQ+ persons are discriminated against. Although some issues seem small, they may mean the world to someone else. If you find some rules or policies to be against the LGBTQ+ community, try to solve equality for all.
Be a Good Listener
If someone comes out to you or tries to talk to you about LGBTQ-related issues, be a good listener. Sometimes being a listener can mean a lot to most people. They may not want you to help in any way, only listening. This may also educate you more on issues affecting this community.
Do not isolate people who you know identify as LGBTQ+. Be it a family member or a friend, include them in your plans. Invite them for a party or a family get-away. If you did stuff before they come out, continue doing so as if nothing ever happened.
Talk about your close ones who identify as LGBTQ+ as long as they have come out and are fine with you telling people about them. Most people assume that their friends will be offended if you talk about the LGBTQ+ community, which sometimes might not be the case. You will be amazed to find out that some of your friends would like to have the conversation but are afraid to start it.
How to Be an Ally to LGBTQ+ Youth – Promote Representation
Encourage conversation evolving around movies or songs featuring LGBTQ+ persons. Point out some of the great and successful LGBTQ+ members from around the world you should know. This will create a positive perception of the community and promote equal representation for all.
It won’t cost you a dime to tell someone that they are perfect just the way they are. Especially for kids, they will really love it when they hear these words coming from their family members and close friends.
If someone chooses to come out to you, assure them of your firm friendship. You should assure them that their sexual orientations do not affect your relationship even if you have not digested the information fully. Most LGBTQ+ members are afraid of losing their friendships after they come out, therefore reassuring their friendship can indicate interest in being an ally.
Being an LGBTQ+ ally means you have a little knowledge (if not much) about the issues they face. Be an educator to others. Most straight people do not know about these issues. With a bit of information about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, there can be a remarkable decrease in cases of discrimination and stigma.
Come Out as an LGBTQ+ Ally
Do not be afraid to come out as an LGBTQ+ community ally. In fact, be proud of it. This act of pride and affection towards the minority population may seem small but means a lot to these people. Champion for their rights for better health care, better housing, employment, and promotion, and do it openly.
Take full responsibility for your actions that could be biased towards your LGBTQ+ friend. Do not justify your hurtful behavior but rather be apologetic. You may have done something wrong unknowingly, but you can improve the situation by taking responsibility rather than making excuses.
Being an Ally to an LGBTQ+ Youth – Final Thoughts
Since the LGBTQ+ community experiences many setbacks such as discrimination, stigma, and rejection, their grievances need to be addressed. Having someone speak on their behalf, seeking equality and against discrimination against them, shows that there is still hope for a better tomorrow. Anyone can choose to act in kindness towards this community so that they can lead a normal life. Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, we can all choose to change the LGBTQ+ community by simply being allies.