Support Your LGBTQ Friends and Family: Be An Ally
Let’s face it, we all need the support of our friends and family. This is particularly true for those who identify as LGBTQ. According to Sageusa.org “approximately 10 million Americans” in the United States identify as LGBT.”
While the number may seem large, in fact it only equates to 4% of the population. This is, without a doubt, a minority.
Pride month, in June, offers the LGBTQ community the opportunity to celebrate while continuing to share their history. However, it is important to continue the support of those we love throughout the year.
Three Steps To Take
Below are three important things you can do to personally support your LGBTQ friends and family as well as the entire community.
A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Take some time to learn about the LGBTQ spectrum. According to The Trevor Project “many people’s sexual orientation and gender identity are fluid.” Understanding this can allow you to better support those you love.
Additionally, the internet is home to a host of valuable and helpful sites. These can assist you in understanding the spectrum, learning about the history of the community and recognizing the challenges that they face. All which can help provide insight into your friend or family member’s life.
Finally, actively listen. By paying attention to what your friends and family say and how they act you can learn a great deal. Use the pronouns they prefer, hear their concerns and support them in all they do.
In addition to supporting your family and friends personally, a show of public support may be incredibly comforting. Of course you would stand up for a friend if they were being personally attacked or embarrassed; but, your support should go further.
First, defend the LGBT community as a whole, even when you are alone. Speak out against those making jokes or derogatory comments. Stand up for and support your beliefs.
Next, publicly endorse and vote for LGBTQ supportive political candidates. Love is love. And, each member of the LGBTQ community (including your family and friends) deserves the same rights and privileges as you.
Also, consider joining PFLAG “the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies.” Through this organization, you can help to advocate on behalf of those you love.
Finally, being visible is an important part of being vocal. Celebrate Pride by attending Pride parades and events as well as community LGBTQ events throughout the year. Spend time with those you love, appreciate who they are, and support them in overcoming challenges.
Donate, both your money and your time, to LGBTQ organizations and causes. Groups across the country regularly fundraise for a broad range of causes important to the community including, but not limited to fair representation, transgender equality, non-violence, LGBTQ youth crisis intervention, and equal rights.
Organizations are both national and local. Ask your LGBTQ friends and family if there's an organization important to them. Supporting causes closest to their heart is a great place to begin.
Honestly, the opportunities to get involved are endless. You truly can make a difference.
Respect is Key
Basically, your LGBTQ friends and family are just like you. They want to be accepted, supported, respected, and loved.
In short, don’t question who they are. Respect their privacy. And, treat them in the same manner as you would expect to be treated. A good friend or a loving family member is an ally. Become one today.