In the spirit of Pride month coming up, it is important to research what being an ally is for the LGBTQ+ community. Being an ally is important because everyone should have an understanding of sexual orientation and gender to ensure equality and comfort everywhere. Allies don’t suffer from discrimination and could provide support for any targeted minority to help fight oppression.
I often feel as though I can’t ask any questions in fear that I will say something offensive or completely wrong. However, I am slowly learning that there is nothing wrong with trying to educate one’s self. It is often awkward and uncomfortable asking questions, but that is the point. It is supposed to feel uncomfortable because it is a real-world issue. Not everything is rainbows and sunshine, and people should stop turning the other way when something is unsettling. The world needs to change and become more accepting towards the queer community, and everyone can help by becoming an ally.
A great starting point towards becoming an ally is to familiarize yourself with the LGBTQ+ terminology. There are some differences between the terminology that people need to learn. There are the sexual orientation terms and the gender terminology. After gaining knowledge of the terminology use them appropriately and respectfully. Use terms that are inclusive to everyone.
People often feel like it is hard to figure out the terminology because it can get a bit complicated with all the new terms that come to light every so often, but they should not feel uncomfortable with trying to learn. Becoming an ally means that you are going to feel uncomfortable at first, especially when asking questions. You are allowed to ask questions, and it is okay to make mistakes or fumble over your words. It is all a part of the learning journey towards becoming inclusive to everyone and an ally.
People need to understand that gender and sexuality are affected in other aspects of societal issues. The queer community faces workplace discrimination, especially in less populated areas. So many states still lack sexual orientation and gender identity protection laws which leaves the queer community to face discrimination without any form of legal protection. That is why it is always important to stay informed with any current news to stay up to date. If need be, speak up for those who don’t have a voice or who are uncomfortable.
An important part of being an ally is to make sure you are doing it to lift up the queer community, not yourself. The LGBTQ+ community needs advocates to show support, not objectify the queer community by waving the flag around. Sometimes while trying to help celebrate Pride, people tend to miss the point of it. The celebration month is about their queer liberation and how they have fought against the obstacles that try to make them nonexistent. Allies are always needed to support the LGBTQ+ community to help fight for equality and to be heard.