How to be an LGBTQ+ Ally

It is almost the end of June and Pride celebrations are in full swing.  Pride month is celebrated every June to recognize the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. Parades, rallies and many more events are held all around the world to continuously push for awareness and acceptance.

If you are not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is an opportunity for you to show your support for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, or other people in your life. This is also known as allyship. Navigating how to appropriately be an ally can be tricky, but meaningful support can help LGBTQ+ people feel heard and safe.

Here are some of the things you can do as an ally not only during Pride month but all year long:

Be Vocal about Your Support

Speak up about your support for the community. Be confident in showing that you are an ally in different settings such as work or family events. Speak out when you hear someone using a slur or making an offensive remark that negatively stereotypes LGBTQ+ people. This can help normalize talking about and supporting LGBTQ+ people and issues. The aim should be to get others to speak up and get more involved.

Attend Community Events

The need for a collective community effort does not stop at the end of pride month. Be active in offering help and being present at LGBTQ+ events throughout the year. The key is consistency. You want to ensure that the people in your life and around you always feel supported. So, show up and help amplify their voices.

If you are not sure where to find information about events, check out your local LGBTQ+ organization’s website.  Currently, many places have a variety of online and in-person events you can attend. If you are in Toronto or the GTA region, you can visit Pride Toronto website and check out celebrations happening for pride month. If you have time, hop on over to downtown for the big pride parade taking place this weekend!

Don’t Question their Identity

People who identify as LGBTQ+ are extremely diverse. They come from all walks of life and can be from any race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. They also choose to express femininity and masculinity in various ways that may not be connected to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Do not push back against or question their identity because it doesn’t align with your expectations. Although it is a part of their identity, there is more to a person than their sexual orientation. Do not label them as “my trans friend” or “my gay friend.” Recognize that there is more to them than that.

Don’t be Intrusive

When someone opens up to you about their gender identity or sexual orientation, your main goal is to listen.  It is not an invitation for you to ask inappropriate questions about their body or sexuality. Rather than speaking over them regarding a matter you do not have firsthand experience with, hear them out. Be supportive of their concerns and validate their experiences.

Speak with Your Money

As is the case with all causes aiming to bring cultural change, the LGTBQ+ community relies on donations to move their mission forward.  Reach out and donate your money or time to organizations working to raise awareness and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.  You can also boycott organizations or businesses that are known to have anti-LGBTQ+ values or fund anti-LGBTQ+ movements.

Ultimately, it is important to ensure that you show your support and allyship in a meaningful way.  With examples like this, we can help the LGBTQ+ community to be heard and be seen.  If you are not sure of your approach, ask if someone in the community could further educate you on the matter in question, but remember to always be respectful. 

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