June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the achievements, culture, and history of the LGBTQ+ community. But what does it mean to be an LGBTQ+ ally? And why is it important to support and respect LGBTQ+ people and their identities?
Pride Month originated from the Stonewall Uprising, a series of protests that erupted in 1969 after police raided a gay bar in New York City. The uprising sparked a movement for gay liberation and civil rights that continues to this day . Pride Month is also a time to raise awareness and advocate for the rights and equality of LGBTQ+ people, who still face discrimination, violence, and stigma in many parts of the world.
Being an LGBTQ+ ally means supporting and respecting LGBTQ+ people and their identities, standing up against discrimination and prejudice, and promoting inclusion and diversity. Allies can show their support in various ways, such as:
- Educating themselves and others about LGBTQ+ issues, history, and terminology. Allies can learn more about the different identities and expressions within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, as well as the challenges and achievements of LGBTQ+ people throughout history. They can also use inclusive and respectful language when referring to LGBTQ+ people and their pronouns. For example, they can ask someone what their pronouns are instead of assuming them based on their appearance or name.
- Listening to and amplifying LGBTQ+ voices. Allies can seek out and listen to the stories, perspectives, and opinions of LGBTQ+ people, especially those who are marginalized or underrepresented. They can also amplify their voices by sharing their content, supporting their causes, and inviting them to speak at events. For example, they can follow LGBTQ+ activists on social media, donate to LGBTQ+ organizations or fundraisers, or attend LGBTQ+ panels or workshops.
- Attending Pride events and rallies. Allies can join LGBTQ+ people in celebrating their pride and solidarity by attending events such as parades, festivals, marches, and vigils. They can also wear rainbow colors or symbols to show their support. For example, they can wear a rainbow pin or bracelet, wave a rainbow flag or banner, or paint their face or nails with rainbow colors.
- Donating to LGBTQ+ organizations and causes. Allies can contribute to the work of LGBTQ+ organizations and activists by donating money, time, or resources. They can also sign petitions, contact lawmakers, or join campaigns that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and justice. For example, they can support organizations that provide legal aid, health care, education, or shelter to LGBTQ+ people in need.
- Speaking out against homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression. Allies can challenge and confront any hateful or harmful comments or actions that they witness or encounter against LGBTQ+ people. They can also educate others on why these behaviors are wrong and how they can be changed. For example, they can call out someone who uses slurs or jokes about LGBTQ+ people, explain why these words are hurtful and offensive, or suggest alternative ways to express themselves.
Being an LGBTQ+ ally is not a one-time thing or a label that one can claim without action. It is a continuous process of learning, unlearning, listening, speaking up, and showing up for LGBTQ+ people. It is also a privilege and a responsibility that requires humility, empathy, and courage.
Pride Month is not only a celebration of LGBTQ+ people but also a reminder of their struggles and resilience. It is an opportunity for allies to show their support and appreciation for the LGBTQ+ community and to join them in their fight for dignity and equality.
As the famous slogan goes: "No one is free until we are all free."