How to be a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community
It's Pride Month, which means we're celebrating the LGBTQ+ community all June long. (Although we should celebrate and support *everyone* all day, every day, amiright?) The LGBTQ+ experience is a unique one of perseverance and working against discrimination. For those not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it's important to support and love your LGBTQ+ friends in the ways that are most comfortable for them. If you identify as straight and want to be the best ally to your besties, even if you don't *quite* share their same experiences, we have tips and advice on allyship from members of the LGBTQ+ community.
When a friend comes out to you: Coming out is nerve-wracking and emotional. The person coming out to you is putting themselves on the line and trusting you enough to share who they are. Thank them for telling you and remind them that you love them. A hug goes a long way too! You can have a conversation after that, but don't make it about you. This is your friend's personal moment and it isn't about you—just your support.
To go the extra mile and make sure you don't accidentally out your friend, ask them who they're out to. Can you use their new pronouns around their family or just when you're in private? Do they care if a random classmate knows they're gay? Coming out is a decision for your friend to make for themselves—and you need to keep their trust.
Different pronouns: If a friend comes out to you as trans, nonbinary or just asks you to try out using different pronouns, you might mess up a few times— but don't turn it into a big debacle. If you're corrected on pronouns by the person you're talking about, or anyone else, say a quick "oh sorry, [correct pronoun]" and continue on. We understand that you're sorry, but aggressive apologies can sometimes be more hurtful than the actual misgendering.
To normalize the use of different pronouns other than just she/her or he/him, you can put your pronouns in your social media bios. Cisgender people normalizing announcing pronouns and not making assumptions can really help.
The A doesn't stand for ally: Being an ally is *great* and we are all about supporting one another, but being an ally doesn't make you part of the LGBTQ+ community. If there's an issue you might not understand correctly because you're not a part of it—take a step back. Continue treating your friends no differently than before. That's the most important thing you can do in any situation.
Respect *everyone's* identities: Some people use specific labels, others use micro labels, umbrella terms or prefer not to label anything at all. No one needs to be told whether their labels are valid or not. Everyone is valid. Period.
Support LGBTQ+ content: Supporting LGBTQ+ creators, stories, content, authors and actors is simple and easy. Buying products or content made by LGBTQ+ artists or creators shows the public that *everyone* loves that content and more will be made and normalized. Even sharing posts on your Instagram story can go a long way.
How are you celebrating pride month? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag!