20 Ways to Support the LGBTQ People in Your Life
Be an ally
In commemoration of the Stonewall riots of 1969, Pride month is celebrated every June to recognize the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ community throughout history around the world. Parades, parties, rallies and other demonstrations are held globally in which LGBTQ people and allies not only dress in rainbow colors and celebrate, but also perform, give speeches and more to continue to push for cultural and political change. If you are someone who is not a member of the LGBTQ community, Pride Month presents a chance for you to express your support for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors or other LGBTQ people in your life. Navigating how to appropriately be an ally can be tricky, but your support can help LGBTQ people feel heard and safe as well as be used to amplify LGBTQ voices as they advocate for equal rights. Here are just some of the things you can do as an ally not only this Pride month but also all year long to support the LGBTQ people in your life.
Being supportive is one of many ways to be a better friend. Support the LGBTQ people in your life by letting them come out in their own time. If you suspect that someone you know or love is LGBTQ, don’t call them out on it, interrogate them or pressure them to tell you. You might feel that it’s about you — that they don’t trust or care about you. However, according to the Human Rights Council, they simply may not be ready, may not feel safe, or may still be coming to terms with their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
Coming out is personal, and it can also be very dangerous. Prejudice and discrimination, both legal and illegal, are still very common for LGBTQ people in America. Disclosing or referring to someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation could endanger them and even put their physical safety at risk. Let your loved one come out at their own discretion.
Although it is a part of their identity, there is more to a person than their sexual orientation. They should be much more to you than “my trans friend” or “my asexual friend.” Don’t let it define them for you. Seeing and loving them for who they are is a great way to build friendships that will stand the test of time.
In a world that still isn’t as LGBTQ-friendly as it could be, it can get lonely. Make sure to support your LGBTQ friends by including them in plans, inviting them to meet your family or just hanging out with them in general. Don’t make them feel as if they’re someone you want to hide or keep away from the rest of your social circle. Also include the partner of your LGBT loved one in events and activities just as you would any other spouse or significant other.
Being a good friend or family member means having your LGBTQ friend’s back. If you hear someone using a slur, making a disparaging remark or telling a joke that stereotypes LGBTQ people, speak out against it — even if it isn’t directed at your loved one or they’re not around. Make sure others know that you find it offensive.
Use the right pronouns
Another way to stop treating cisgender as the norm is to offer your own pronouns (he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, etc.) and respectfully ask someone theirs upon first meeting. If someone asks you to use their preferred pronouns, respect their request. Politely apologize and correct yourself if you misspeak or someone else misgenders them. It may not seem like a big deal, but using the wrong pronouns for someone can be invalidating and hurtful.