Committing to Being a Better Ally for LGBTQ Pride Month
Written by Melissa Thibodeau on June 8, 2020
June is LGBTQ Pride Month. The HRHN iMAD Program prides itself on being inclusive to ALL youth. We are proud to be allies to the LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ youth in our area. We celebrate the ways we are all alike and the ways that make us different and unique every month but especially during June. This month, we are looking at ways we can continue to support our community by being better allies for our LGBTQ youth and invite you to do the same. Together, we can make a difference for all our youth!
We pulled some helpful information from GLSEN and Lambda Legal – two amazing organizations known for supporting our LGBTQ youth – to put together a guide on How to be a Better Ally. Check it out below.
What does being an Ally mean?
Ally is a word that can be used as a noun or verb. In its noun form, Ally is someone who has your back, who you can trust, lean on for support, and stands up for you because they know it is the right thing to do. Ally as a verb means taking action in solidarity with one another and acting in that solidarity with all students – whether they are LGBTQ or not. Anyone can be an ally. So, if you are willing to stand in support of those who hold identities that are marginalized or attacked in our society, then, you are an ally. Allies can be in one of the marginalized classes themselves but they don’t have to be.
How can I be a better Ally to LGBTQ youth?
In general, we can all be better allies to our LGBTQ youth by showing support, joining the conversation, continuing to learn about the LGBTQ community and how to continue showing support, organizing or coming together to provide support, and teaching others how to be better allies. These five things are a great quick guide to being a better Ally.
Everyone can support LGBTQ youth by refraining from making assumptions about people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Ask people about their preferred pronouns and chosen name and use those. Speak out against any harassment and discrimination you witness. Speak out when you hear others using anti-gay slurs. Support anyone who chooses to come out, attend LGBTQ events, display LGBTQ-friendly or ally buttons, stickers or posters, and continue to read, learn and discuss LGBTQ issues and rights of LGBTQ students.
I am a student. How can I support my LGBTQ classmates?
Students can do so much to help support their LGBTQ classmates. In addition to the advice above, here are a couple other things you can do to be an Ally to your LGBTQ classmates. You can report in writing any anti-LGBTQ harassment or discrimination you witness to your principal and/or School Board. You can stand up for your LGBTQ friends and voice your support for treating them with respect and acceptance. You can help form a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school or in your community. You can support friends in their decision to bring a same-sex date to a social event. You can advocate for your school to adopt and enforce nondiscrimination policies that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
I am Faculty or Staff at a School or Community Organization serving youth. How can I support the LGBTQ youth that are in my care?
The adults that youth interact with can have a profound effect on their lives and the ease or difficulty they have getting through adolescence. Being part of the Faculty or Staff of a school or any community organization that interacts with youth puts you in a special position to really change someone’s life. Here are just some of the ways you can be an ally. First off, we would encourage you to make your space a safe space for all children where no negative slang or slurs are tolerated. You can also make a huge difference by advocating for your school or organization to adopt and enforce nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Include LGBTQ examples in your teaching to be more inclusive and provide positive examples for youth. Consider being an advisor of a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school or in your community. Ensure any events hosted by your school or organization are inclusive to everyone, especially LGBTQ youth.
I am a Parent or Family Member of an LGBTQ youth. How can I support my family member?
A lot of the advice in the above sections apply to family members too but the number one thing a family member can do to support their LGBTQ youth is to accept and support them as they are, without any conditions. Being a support system for that family member and any friends that they might have that are questioning their sexuality or identity is a huge show of support. You can also make yourself available to meet with school faculty or staff about issues, help your family member or their friends file complaints about discrimination or harassment, and if discrimination or harassment happens to your family member at school, hold the school accountable for violating the school district’s nondiscrimination policies or state laws.
We hope that this summary of the information from GLSEN and Lambda Legal helps you in being a better ally to our LGBTQ youth in our communities. Happy Pride Month! #LGBTQPrideMonth #Ally #hrhniMAD #GLSEN #LambdaLegal #beingbetter