Three Ways To Be a Good LGBT Ally

Considering yourself an ally of the LGBTQ community is more than just believing that everyone has a valid identity. It involves actively addressing relevant social issues and stopping hate. Some may feel that they must have a close friend or family member who is gay or trans to speak up and relate to these issues. However, the LGBTQ community needs everyone to voice their opinions and fight on the forefront of social change.

Here are some ways that you can be a good ally:

1. Stop saying “that’s so gay.”

“You know I didn’t mean it like that, though.” I’ve heard this response many times after a peer uses this expression. I completely understand that many people don’t necessarily mean to substitute “gay” as a synonym for “stupid.” This language has become a popular expression that is homophobia, whether you meant it that way or not. However, people that consider themselves allies need to understand how important it is to change this language. “I didn’t mean it like that” isn’t an acceptable excuse and people should become more aware of their words and how they might affect people.

2. Don't expect others to educate you.

There are so many resources that can be used to learn about many issues facing the LGBT community, such as discrimination laws and transphobia. A good ally is someone who takes initiative to gather information about these topics. While I love spreading knowledge to my friends and family and answering questions about what I know, I cannot be an ally’s only source. I once heard someone say, “I am not your Google” and this idea holds true.

Whether its posting an article on Facebook about LGBT rights or attending a pride event on campus, there are so many ways to share your support. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to identify as LGBT to volunteer at a Pride Student Union or go to various meetings on campus. Even a small act goes a long way. I always appreciate when my family attends a pride parade with me or when my friends correct someone’s gender pronouns. It’s up to you to keep LGBT rights moving in the right direction and to help break down negative stigmas on campus.

Shelby Curran is a senior at Florida State University majoring in English with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media and minoring in Communications.

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