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Show Up, Be An Ally

Supporting our loved ones in the LGBTQ+ Community

By Ali ReneePublished 2 months ago 4 min read
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Show Up, Be An Ally
Photo by Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash

Being a therapist (under supervision lol) in a major area means being exposed to various individuals from all walks of life. I love being able to support people on their journey towards wellness, towards happiness, towards peace and love.

Being that my clientele is so diverse, I often work with the LGBTQ+ community as well, both teenagers and adults. In the nearly two months since I have begun working in this position, there has not been a week that has gone by where a person of this population has not confided in me about their plight, often telling me that I am one of the only people they feel that they can talk to, as they are not supported by those around them.

My family doesn’t support me.

Some of my friends abandoned me after I came out.

I don’t really have a queer/trans affirming person in my life to talk to.

That breaks my heart, knowing that there are people out here who are sitting with their thoughts in silence, wondering who they can turn to during perhaps one of the liberating yet loneliest times of their lives. Stepping into one’s truth and living openly can present its challenges; while it can be so liberating to live a truth, it can also become a very lonely experience when the people who are meant to love you regardless either turn their backs or pretend that the reality isn’t in fact a reality. The challenges are only further exacerbated by the increasingly dangerous rhetoric being spewed by anit-LGBTQ+ groups and politicians, and the fact that there are extremely harmful, anti-LGBTQ+ laws being passed weekly (DAILY perhaps).

People just need support right now, majorly.

So let’s talk about it - how can you be an ally? How can you be more supportive towards that LGBTQ+ individual in your life? Whether it’s your child, your sibling, your parents, a friend - how can you be more supportive?

  1. Educate yourself.

Education provides us with knowledge relating to the little things in life that we don’t understand. Curious about terminology related to the LGBTQ+ community? Curious about historic decisions related to LGBTQ+? I promise you, Google is free. Also, libraries or bookstores may also have books to assist in providing information related to the LGBTQ+ community. Reading is fundamental, guys. Do your research - whether it’s history, terminology, important figures, laws that are beneficial to the community, issues that the community may experience, etc. Do your research, and open your mind so that you may understand. Click here for a list of affirming books to provide further education and improve your allyship.

2. Ask questions. Have a discussion.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your loved one. The Human Rights Campaign has a stunning article titled Being an LGBTQ+ Ally, which highlights a few commonly asked questions and outlines how to start a conversation with your loved one. Reassure your loved one that the information they have shared has not changed the way you feel about them, but be honest if you need more time to process or have questions or even feel awkward. Don’t ever shut your loved one out or pretend that this isn’t a reality, because it was hard enough for the person to share this information - so please, don’t make them feel like this is now some “taboo” subject that should not be discussed. Ask those supportive questions! (When did you know? How did you know it was the right time to come out? Have you told anyone else? Would you like me to keep this between us? etc.) AND above all else, LISTEN TO YOUR LOVED ONE AND KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

3. BE NICE. BE RESPECTFUL.

I’m going to say it just like this - be f***ing nice. It literally costs zero dollars to be kind to anyone, but especially to those who are finally risking everything to live in their truth and be happy. Be a nice person, be respectful of one’s pronouns and if you find that you have accidentally misgendered someone, just apologize and correct yourself. It’s literally not that hard to be a nice person, and idk why people have a hard time doing that. So yeah, be nice and respectful. Be mindful of jokes that could come across as homophobic, and if someone does make a homophobic joke, stand up for your loved one and correct it.

4. Remember that above all else - LOVE IS LOVE.

This is perhaps my favorite thing to tell people - LOVE IS LOVE. I have had many arguments about this with conservatives; love is love. If two people who just happen to be of the same sex are in love, then so be it. It’s not a crime to be in love. It’s not the end of the world to be in love. It’s a shame that society has deemed “love” to be a crime if it goes against the “traditional values”. It’s not a crime to fall in love with someone, to be in a relationship that is not considered to be displaying the “traditional values.” If your loved one comes to you and shares that they have feelings for someone that is of the same sex, or non-binary, etc. - be respectful. Remember, love is love; it doesn’t matter who’s in love, it doesn't matter who makes up the relationship. LOVE IS LOVE - remember that, and be supportive. Open your mind to hearing more about your loved one’s partner/potential partner. Be open to meeting and communicating with the partner/potential partner.

There are probably so many other things that I can list but I will just leave it here for now. I think that we often will read or research the things that we WANT to research, so why not take some time to research something that will improve your relationship with your LGBTQ+ loved one? Remember, the silence speaks VOLUMES. Show an interest. Talk to your loved ones. Ask those questions and start several discussions. Open your heart and your mind. JUST BE KIND.

Trust me, kindness goes a long way.

RelationshipsIdentityEmpowermentCommunityAdvocacy
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About the Creator

Ali Renee

Therapist (under supervision). Mental Health Advocate. Writer.

I'm just here and a lil' queer.

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