If you are thinking of ways to support the LGBT community or become an ally, you may not know about the best approach. Is attending LGBTQ parties, protests, and other events an effective way to take action? Should straight people attend LGBTQ parties? Our article will tackle these questions and reveal the best ways in which you could help as an ally.
The Struggles of the LGBTQ Community Over the Years
When it comes to the LGBTQ community, the past decade was certainly not easy. In 2015, the Supreme Court expressed its support for same-sex marriage. However, the optimism of this decision was forgotten quickly. The tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando resonated across the US and the world. Then, after six months, Trump came into power. This further swayed the overall tone from optimism to disappointment and protest.
It’s worth noting that Pride is a movement that was forged from protests. Back in 1969, the Stonewall Inn Riots marked the first pride protests in the US. On the first anniversary of the riots, New York City was home to the first Pride March in history. Yet, over half a century later, LGBTQ members still face a myriad of turbulent issues. That includes discrimination in the workplace, unequal access to healthcare, and gender identity prejudices. It also encompasses housing issues, parenting struggles, violence, and many other problems.
In the last few years, the LGBTQ community has seen numerous improvements in countries like Australia. This country managed to legalize same-sex marriage in 2017. Others like Finland, Germany, and Malta followed suit shortly after. Moreover, in the EU, married same-sex couples were given the same residency rights compared to married heterosexual couples.
However, same-sex marriage is still illegal in multiple countries in Eastern and Central Europe. When it comes to Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, many countries are still prohibiting homosexuality. Gay adults can even face a death sentence in Iraq, Iran, and several other countries.
In the US, the LGBTQ community still faces hate crimes, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, and poverty. Racism is at an all-time high. Plus, people face humiliating unethical practices such as “gay conversion therapy.”
For example, 16 states do not cover sexual identity in their hate crime laws. Also, non-discrimination laws are active in only 20 states, whereas over half of all US states do not have them. And when it comes to life insurance, LGBT persons face discrimination in over 35 states.
What’s more, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has left a burdensome impact on the LGBTQ community. For instance, over 220 pride gatherings and celebrations were canceled since April. Moreover, the current medical barriers have prevented LGBTQ folks from getting care and aid. Multiple health care disparities are causing millions of LGBTQ members to compromise their health.
We Need Allies
With so much struggle and so many problems that can significantly harm the daily lives and the future of LGBTQ persons, we need, accept, and invite allies.
In fact, much of what the LGBTQ community is fighting for can amount to a fight for equality. That’s why the community is open to support from all people. The community wants allies to recognize the need for equal treatment. However, active involvement is also necessary. We want straight and cisgender persons to join us in the struggle for our equal rights. That’s why it’s okay to attend LGBTQ Pride, protests, celebrations, and other gatherings.
Other Ways to Support the Community If You Are Straight
If you identify as a straight person who supports Pride and the community but believes that attending events simply “isn’t for you,” this is also perfectly acceptable. It’s a personal choice. Being an ally doesn’t require you to attend protests and Pride celebrations. If you don’t understand the purpose of Pride and equal rights, it may be better to learn about our marginalized community before attending any Pride events.
Additionally, allies of LGBTQ also need to recognize the queer-only events and places. That includes bear parties, leather bars, event afterparties (i.e., Dyke March). One reason for this is that there is still some marginalization within the community. For example, butch queer women or trans people may require their own space or celebration. They may want this simply as a way to get some distance from male-focused gay bars or events.
Therefore, you can help support the queer community in many other ways, aside from attending parties.
How to Support
The first step would be to research the challenges and plights of LGBTQ people. You should also be accepting, respectful, and know when to give up space. What’s more, you can show support at the workplace, schools, public spaces, etc. There are many other places where LGBTQ people can experience discrimination.
For example, you could speak out if someone in your workplace uses homophobic comments. You could demonstrate openness and willingness to support your friends or family who are gay in many ways. For instance, be aware of their sexual orientations and support their decisions without prejudice. Try not to exclude them from non-LGBT social gatherings, where everyone could have a good time. You can also raise awareness of gay pride parades in your local community, at the workplace, or via social media.
Remember that you do not need to show grandiose support or to attract attention to your efforts. Simple and subtle acts of help will show openness, and they’ll inspire others to become allies.
In the end, all that matters is equality. Anyone who wishes to offer support is welcome to attend LGBTQ events. You can also make an impact in your community by following some of the examples we’ve outlined above. So become an ally today and support equality for all people!