Pride Month is over but the Work is Not: Student’s Guide to Being an Ally
By Bailey Synclaire
As Pride Month comes to end let me say Happy Pride one more time to my LGBTQ friends! Between the current presidential administration, and current attacks on the community, it is important that my fellow non-LGBTQ allies stand with the community and celebrate pride month. But with that being said, there a few key guidelines that allies should follow when it comes down to well…being a good ally.
Have an open mind
Being able to have an open mind is the first step to being an ally for any community. This is especially important for my friends who might not have a friend in the LGBTQ community but are looking to support the cause. Having an open mind means no judgment. Don’t rely on stereotypes for information on the community. Don’t judge someone based on the way they identify themselves. And then there’s obviously the basics: don’t use slurs, don’t ask someone about intimate details, and remember that pride month is more than just attending one parade a posting a cute picture of yourself on social media; it’s not about you. Remember that pride month and all the celebrations are about the community. Be supportive, make some new friends! And most importantly, celebrate the LGBTQ community the best way you can.
Now, this tip might seem a little confusing at first, but it can save you from ruining a first impression and hurting someone’s feelings without even knowing it. Remember that within the LGBTQ community, there are many different types of people. Don’t limit your vocabulary to just words like gay, lesbian, homosexual, or transgender. Because you might come across or meet someone who doesn’t identify as any of those, and that’s perfectly okay. There are many ways one can refer to themselves or other in the LGBTQ community. Respect people’s pronouns, and try using gender inclusive pronouns. And remember that if you make a mistake it’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes and usually, the person you’re talking too will be apologetic and thankful that you’re trying to respect them. Just apologize and move on. If you’re looking for more information on gender inclusive pronouns and would like learn more about “his” or “her” vs. the singular “they” click the link below:
Watch Your Language
Okay now, this one kind of follows number one and two but it’s so important it gets another explanation. Being a good ally is difficult and you’re going to mess up and make mistakes but they key is to try. Do your research. Learn something new, update yourself on pronouns, ask someone what pronouns they would like you to use when referring to them. And most importantly avoid heterosexual bias in language.
“You will mess up and say the wrong thing. But that’s okay. It doesn’t make you any less of an ally. What makes you a good ally is how you listen and learn when you make mistakes.” –Kayla Myers
Stand with LGBTQ people of color
This is becoming more and more important each day. Shockingly I have learned from friends that there is currently a bias happening within the LGBTQ community. People of color are on the outskirts of the LGBTQ community and that is not okay. In 2014, 12 trans women of color were killed. Sadly each year this number is increasing. Being a trans woman of color is taking a risk in our country. The intersections of being a person of color along with gender identity and gender discrimination make them a target for racism and oppression.
Pride Month Shouldn’t just be a Month
This is a MAJOR KEY my trill readers! Pride Month isn’t just a month where you can go to a really fun parade and take a cute selfie. It is so much more than this! Being an ally to the LGBTQ is a year-round commitment. Just like Black History Month isn’t just a month either. We should celebrate LGBTQ successes all year round. And unfortunately, in our current political situation, we need to stand with our LGBT friends now more than ever. Stand up for your neighbors, friends, family, and anyone looking for a helping hand.
Well, guys, that’s all the guidelines I have for being a good ally!
Trill or not Trill stands with our LGBTQ friends and family!
Bailey Synclaire is a tenacious college student studying documentary journalism at the University of Missouri Columbia. She’s passionate about truth-telling, activism, and disrupting education and leadership along with the Trill Or Not Trill team! To keep up with her follow @bsynclaire on Instagram and @BaileySynclaire on Twitter.