The true colors of an LGBT Ally

Being an ally of the LGBT community doesn’t just mean dressing in pride colors or heading off to Seattle’s Pride Parade; it means being conscientious and respectful towards the lifestyles and identities of others. Many Patriots have already started doing these things, because all it takes is being kind to everyone and willing to lend a helping hand to a peer. The most important thing to keep in mind as an ally is that it’s not about you, but about those you ally with.

Megan So, Kelley Johnson, and Logan Allan

Listen more, talk less.
A WAY to be a good ally is to listen. Let them tell you what they’re feeling. Just because you’re not the one facing the societal pressures that your LGBT friend is doesn’t mean that you cannot be a support system.

Use inclusive language.
KNOW that many expressions like “dude” or “businessman” are gendered terms. A solution would be to use gender neutral terms like “pal” or “business person.”

Pay more attention to your subconscious and
conscious behaviors.
BE AWARE of the things you say and do. What you say might have a bigger impact than what you intend.

Common courtesies
do not merit gratitude.
DON’T expect kudos for supporting people who are simply expressing themselves. Calling them by their preferred pronouns and name is more of an expectation, so don’t be offended when you don’t get a “thank you.”

Stay informed—the moment you stop learning is when you
become a part of the problem.
JUST reading this article doesn’t mean that you know everything about being an ally, and that’s okay. Spend some time educating yourself, keep listening, and remain informed.

Speak up—don’t ignore the bullies.
IF there is someone who is shouting transphobic/homophobic jokes or slurs, tell them to stop. You never know who might be facing internal battles or questioning his/her own identity. Make sure that while you’re asking the antagonist to stop, you remain polite.

Be respectful of pronouns.
CALLING someone by the wrong pronoun is like calling a dog a cat. If you don’t know their preferred pronouns, ask them respectfully.

Don’t put yourself in the limelight—you’re an ally.
IF you choose to become a proactive ally, i.e. supporting the transgender community at a pride parade, understand that it’s not your battle. Support and celebrate with them when progress is made.

Know you’re going
to do it wrong.
YOU may mess up—the wrong pronouns may slip out at times or you might use a friend’s previous name. Just correct your mistake and move on. Make sure you use their preferred terminology until it becomes a habit. As long as they know that you didn’t do it on purpose, don’t sweat it.

Everyone has their own reality, no matter what the circumstances are.
WHETHER someone is in the LGBT community or not, everyone has their own uphill battle. We all need to be conscious of this. If it takes the same effort to be mean as it does to be kind, why not be kind?