Have you ever wondered how you can be supportive of the LGBTQ2S+ community, even if it’s not part of your own identity?
An ally is someone who chooses to commit themselves to behaving in ways that are supportive of the LGBTQ2S+ community, regardless of their own identity and beliefs. Allies are vital. They not only provide support, but they also can use their own strengths and titles they hold to advocate for this community and reduce discrimination against them.
The fact that you’ve gotten this far in this post shows that you are already beginning the process to becoming an ally. Great work! Read on for more tips:
1. Reflect on your own assumptions, beliefs, and values.
Take some time to do this, and then think about how these pieces may consciously or subconsciously affect your thoughts, behaviour, and actions. Being a good ally often starts with taking a look in the mirror!
2. Listen with an open mind.
Focus on listening to the other person and using empathy to understand their perspective instead of making judgments about what they say. This can help build trust and let the other person know that you want to understand their point of view, despite any differences in your backgrounds or experiences. And if there is something that you don’t understand, just ask instead of assuming.
3. Believe them.
Part of listening with an open mind is believing what the other person shares with you. It’s not your job to judge what they say. As you are listening, it is important as a good ally to affirm the person’s story – meaning that you do not question, but validate what they are describing at face value (i.e. “Wow, I can’t imagine how you feel going through this. That sounds really hard.”).
4. Use preferred names/pronouns/terms appropriately.
This affirms to the person that you are acknowledging their identity. See the last couple weeks’ posts for more info on this one 🙂
5. Be an advocate!
This can be big or small. This can look like something supportive on social media, educating friends, colleagues, or family members when you hear them being discriminatory, or speaking to local policy makers about the need for change. Being an advocate is about taking any form of action against discrimination or hatred toward the community.