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.
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.
• 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 www.friendfactor.org 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:
A Guest Blog: LGBT Gay Diversity in Direct Sales
LINK: LGBT and Housing Issues