For the LGBTQIA+ community, 1 June marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of self-pride, love, and acceptance. This time each year, cities all over the world burst into colour, dance, and song, as hundreds and thousands of people take to the streets to celebrate the community’s achievements and talk about their struggles. If you are thinking of taking part in Pride as an ally this year, here are some simple ways you can begin your journey. But always remember, a true ally won’t stop when Pride month is over.
Educate yourself on Pride month and the community
The easiest way to be an ally is by expanding your knowledge about the community, their challenges and their accomplishments. Listen carefully to their stories and learn about their struggles. Once you do that, the meaning of Pride will completely change. Freddy McConnell, host of the Pride & Joy podcast, wrote on BBC:
Every ally has to start somewhere and I know from experience with other topics that absorbing the right documentary or book at the right time can be life changing.
Introspect and confront your own biases
We’ve all grown up being conditioned to have certain stereotypes about different communities. Oftentimes, being an ally means that you need to challenge your own biases and bring about a change from within. This includes being conscious of the language you use, and the assumptions you make about gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
In addition, make a genuine effort to learn and remember everyone’s proper pronouns because misgendering can be a traumatic experience. If you happen to do it by accident, own your mistake and just apologise.
Support small queer businesses
Pride month has become a huge business opportunity for many brands and companies. While it’s amazing to see so many household names support the community, this also takes keycustomers away from small queer businesses. So, instead of buying products and services from brands that sport the rainbow flag once a year, start contributing to businesses that are actually owned by members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
If you have the means, then donate! This is a highly effective way to be an active ally to the community. Start your allyship by supporting or donating to organisations like Stonewall, a LGBTQIA+ charity in the UK that works towards creating change in public attitudes and public policy. Or Just Like Us, a charity for the youth, with a mission to ‘empower young people to champion LGBT+ equality’—which is also based in the UK.