We stand United in Pride to celebrate people coming together in love and friendship, to support our communities and to show how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come. In the UK and across Europe we have seen huge strides in legal and social reforms, but it's been a long and difficult road to get this far – and there's still much more to do.
We celebrate and support Pride month for a reason; there's an important message that needs to be heard. Pride month is about acceptance and equality and raising awareness of the issues and discrimination that the LGBTQIA+ community still face today, and we can all do more to support the LGBTQIA+ community by being a visible ally.
You could begin by doing something as easy as reading a glossary of terms, teaching yourself the right language to use. It’s a tiny but crucial step you can take to educate yourself and make sure you are using the terminology to be respectful to everyone around you, and help yourself to feel more confident when discussing LGBTQIA+ issues.
Learn the history of activism
While you’re already on Google getting to grips with every letter of the LGBT+ alphabet you can explore the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement. Getting to know the history of activism is an important step in becoming an ally. As well as honouring the effort and sacrifices of those that have come before, it’s important to appreciate how far we have come in the struggle for equality.
There's more to do!
Once you know the history you can help to shape the future. Do some research into the specific battles that are being fought now, and find out the obstacles that the LGBTQIA+ community is facing. Discover specific campaigns that resonate with you so you can get active and focus your support to help really make a difference.
Your support is valued
If you really want to get involved in the cause it’s important to get out there and be active in your community. With Stonewall season approaching it’s easy to find LGBTQIA+ events near you that welcome allies. Let the LGBT community know that you stand with them because your presence at events is a significant show of solidarity and support.
Stand up and speak out
It’s easy to imagine that when you come across discrimination or hateful language you will whir into action, righting wrongs and effortlessly challenging the behaviour and views of people speaking and acting in a hurtful manner. The reality can be very different. Truthfully, sometimes standing up against discrimination can be an intimidating experience.
Let your voice be heard
Although it’s not always easy, these are situations where being an ally really counts. It’s important to let those with bigoted views know that they are not in a world where they can marginalise or bully those that need our support - and this is really the essence of what being an ally is all about.
Tips for how to be a good ally
Joining the conversation and listening to the experiences of the people you meet will undoubtedly broaden your understanding of what is means to be an ally and better your awareness of how to help to achieve equality for all.
- Be a listener.
- Be open-minded.
- Be willing to talk.
- Be inclusive and invite LGBT friends to hang out with your friends and family.
- Don't assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.
- Anti-LGBT comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.
- Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
- Defend your LGBT friends against discrimination.
- Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
Advice on coming out from Stonewall.
Feature from BBC Sounds with 10 ways to be an LGBTQIA+ ally (there's a link to the Pride & Joy podcast at the bottom).
7 ways you can be a better LGBTQ+ ally from UCL.
Timeline photo credits
screenmusings.org, ichef.bbci.co.uk, www.gaytimes.co.uk, wikipedia.org, metrocharity.org.uk, pinknews.co.uk, i.guim.co.uk, theathletic.com, images.jacobinmag.com, adobestock.co.uk, switchboard.co.uk, theindependent.co.uk, www.gannett-cdn.com, independent.co.uk, www.britannica.com