For LGBT Pride Month (JUNE!) – Being a REAL Ally!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Lots of Useful and Interesting Links at the bottom of the blog! Check them out.

Traditionally, June is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month commemorating the “Stonewall Rebellion” in Greenwich Village, New York in late June 1969. Led by a set of brave drag queens, patrons of the Stonewall Tavern boldly stood up to police harassment.
Ally final
To supplement the materials I provided in past years (see links at bottom of blog), this year I want to discuss the importance of “allies” for and within the LGBT community. Allies can be “heterosexual” people, LGB taking action as allies for trans folks, or LGBT acting as allies across other dimensions of diversity like age or race.

Webster’s dictionary defines an ally as “one that is associated with another as a helper.” What a great definition that goes well with the graphic I created for this blog! A true ally-helper is much more than a person who says they support someone; they go beyond that to take some kind of action to help their associates. According to Friendfactor, one of the leading non-profits in the US today working to educate and activate LGBT allies, 77% of Americans verbally state that they support LGBT inclusion, but a much smaller number, 14%, actually do something about it.

Some actions you as an ally can take:
• Support your LGBT friends by including them in your social activities and treating same-gender couples the same as your heterosexual coupled friends.
• Use inclusive, non-gender specific language like partner or spouse when describing your significant other and asking about theirs, to signal that you’re supportive.
• When you hear someone use a derogatory slur or make a stereotype about LGBT people, ask them why they think so and start a conversation about how they may feel if that slur or stereotype was made about them.
gay marriage poster
• Attend rallies and community activities advocated for LGBT equality, speak out as a straight person and even carry a sign or banner (see photo).

Finally engage with Friendfactor, contact [email protected] for more info on building an active ally program at your workplace or school. Visit for their excellent ally resources. And consider supporting or attending Friendfactor’s 1st Annual Ally Challenge Awards Dinner in San Francisco on July 26.

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Here are some additional past blogs that can serve as LGBT Pride Month Resources:

LINK: Five things to never say to gay people

LINK: Five common misconceptions about gay people

LINK: Five Heroes of the early US Gay Rights Movement

LINK: Five Ways CEOs Can Show Support for LGBT Diversity

A Guest Blog: LGBT Gay Diversity in Direct Sales

LINK: Four Quick Points around LGBT Economic Development

LINK: The Intersection of LGBT and Aging

LINK: LGBT and Housing Issues

Four Quick Points around LGBT Ecomonic Development

Part 2 of a 2-part series around LGBT economic development – including lots of useful links!

In the first part of this series (link to it) I recounted the exciting privilege of participating in the historic first ever US Federal Government Procurement Fair for LGBT Businesses. Now I would like to follow that up with four quick lessons around LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Economic Development.

1) There is a direct tie to strong economic health and eliminating LGBT bullying in our schools. By allowing the demoralization of a segment of our society, instead of bullied children growing up into healthy society-contributing adults, they could be more prone to engage in destructive behavior, thus becoming a drain on our society and economies. (Link LGBT bullying blog) And unaddressed bullies in the schoolyard often grow up into future work place bullies and harassers, negatively impacting business productivity. (Link to blog on this.)

2) LGBT people and other oppressed minorities can build inner strength through fighting this oppression, making them more resilient (hence stronger employees) and more creative (hence becoming successful entrepreneurs.) As an example, in 2013, look for a new exciting and innovative product in the pill container industry to hit the market from the winner of the annual LGBT entrepreneur competition held at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce conference. (Link here to read about LGBT-owned CapsulePen*)

3) As the world becomes an increasingly interconnected global economy due to electronic connectivity, LGBT equality is now on the forefront within the younger generation of almost every country. These business leaders of the future will be

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the Export-Import Bank’s annual conference in Washington DC on March 11, 2010, including discussing his new National Export Initiative. (Photo UPI/Kevin Dietsch)

looking for LGBT friendly products and diversity / LGBT equality training. This is a tremendous exporting opportunity for American Businesses. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) has already realized this potential by leading global trading missions overseas with LGBT-owned businesses traveling to Argentina and Colombia. (Link to info on 2012 trade mission to Colombia). And these NGLCC-sponsored missions have been endorse by the White House as a key supporting activity of President Obama’s initiative to improve the US economy by increasing our exports. (Link to info on the National Export Initiative.)

4) These first 3 points are coupled with the more well-known strategic diversity initiatives within most major companies: the strong business case for executing LGBT-diversity initiatives. Employee engagement and productivity is improved among LGBT employees within a company, and increased sales revenue can be gained from the highly loyal LGBT purchasing constituency. Link to blog on the business case for LGBT Diversity.

Disclosure – Blog author Stan C. Kimer holds an equity position in CapsulePen.