By SOPHIE STONE.
So, you’re an ardent supporter of LGBTIQ rights, and you consider yourself an ally, but you’re not sure how you can help? Well look no further, because here’s a list of basic tips you need to know.
#1. Learn about the issues that affect LGBTIQ people.
This could mean through educating yourself online, attending some queer-focused group meetings, or even talking to friends who fall under the rainbow umbrella. Part of wanting to support people is finding out the issues that affect them in their everyday lives, in order to get a better understanding of their troubles.
#2. Being an ally of this community means accepting all identities that fall under this umbrella, not just the ones you encounter most often.
If you claim to be a “huge supporter of LGBTIQ rights” and then refuse to use pronouns for trans people, you aren’t really doing it right. You might find out about different identities that seem strange or foreign to you. The best thing to do is keep an open mind, and not immediately dismiss these.
#3. Support the LGBTIQ community.
You can show your support through social media, sharing pages like Rainbow Youth, LGBTIQ news or even articles in this section of TEARAWAY, or by changing your profile pic during awareness days. You can also volunteer, or donate to local queer and gender diverse groups. Even if you feel there isn’t much you can do to help, there are a variety of ways you can lend a hand, without having to donate money.
#4. You could start up a Queer-Straight-Alliance in your school/uni.
This would be a group welcoming of all identities, including those who don’t fall under the rainbow umbrella. However, the aim would be to support those who do.
#5. Don’t turn a blind eye to discrimination.
If you see a queer person being discriminated against, make it clear that you aren’t OK with this. Perhaps they’re saying things that are ignorant or rude, or harrassing LGBTIQ people. Report it to someone you trust or just straight-up (heh) call the person out on it.
On that note, if you do feel you to have to call someone out, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on that one too:
#1. Don’t be overly confrontational.
You don’t have to change how people think, you just have to encourage them to think twice about how they act. It’s not about trying to change a person’s whole mind-set and beliefs; all that really matters are the actions they take and how they impact others.
#2. If you believe this person is discriminating against, taking direct actions against or bullying people, it’s probably a good time to hand things over to higher authorities.
If this is taking place at school, tell a teacher. Depending on where it happens, always go to the person in charge. If this is taking place out in the open, depending on the severity, you could go to the police, or if it’s safe to do so, take a group with you to explain to the harasser that you won’t tolerate the way they are treating others.
Furthermore, here are some tips from the awesome staff at Rainbow Youth:
Morgan Butler – Support Manager
“Make the effort to use inclusive language – like ‘partner’ instead of ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’. Try your best to make this a habit not just for when you’re around LGBTIQ people.”
Anahera Foley-Paama – Operations Manager
“Don’t assume people’s identities based on what they look like. Assumptions can make situations unnecessarily unsafe and uncomfortable. Trust that the person will disclose to you when/if they feel comfortable.”
Duncan Matthews – Executive Director
“No matter what your beliefs are, you can still help someone by connecting them to the right support that they need.”
Toni Duder – National Manager
“Jokes can be funny without needing to be homophobic, biphobic or transphobic. Stop and think before you say, share or laugh at a joke that might reinforce negative and damaging stereotypes about queer and gender diverse people.”
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