It’s the most wonderful time again: it’s PRIDE MONTH! Rainbows get slapped onto t-shirts, shoes, and even mouthwash this year. And everyone looks forward to the Pride parades – cause gays know how to party! People often forget Pride isn’t all about parties, nor rainbows on products. So let us tell you how to be an amazing ally to the LGBTQ+ community, for reals!
An ally or straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual or cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.Wikipedia
We’re so happy to see straight allies taking action this year, and showing their support. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the first royals to ever celebrate Pride month, showing their support towards LGBTQ+ organisations on Instagram. Aggie (formerly @travel_inhershoes) decided to take action too, sharing “Call me small minded but I don’t understand how people don’t see that all LOVE is LOVE. ???? #HappyPrideMonth” and promoting UnderArmour’s Pride collection.
Such influential allies are so incredibly important for the LGBTQ+ community, because there are people who won’t listen to queer voices, but do listen to the voice of these allies! We do need straight people attending Pride and spreading love – because that’s how we show the world LOVE = LOVE!
Of course, it’s problematic if you’re a straight person and you think Pride is the best place for a bachelor(ette)-party, where you’ll take pictures cause it’s “so hilarious”. Our dear friend Meg Cale wrote an incredibly powerful piece addressing a few conditions for attending Pride as a straight person. We stand by every single word she’s written but as a straight person, you might worry you’ll be ‘doing it wrong’ after reading it. We want to give you the tools to be a great ally – cause we need those – not only during Pride – but year round!
RECAP: Why do we “celebrate” Gay Pride?
SHOCKER: it didn’t start as a celebration. It started as a protest, which became a serious riot. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 weren’t fun – they were violent. Gay Pride is a fight for equal rights and a fight for being treated with respect – being treated humanely. LGBTQ+ people are still being persecuted daily on a global scale. LGBTQ+ people still get harassed everywhere on the planet – so the fight isn’t over yet. We still need to “celebrate” Pride because a lesbian couple can still get beaten up in London, a place that’s considered welcoming and accepting.
It’s still illegal to be gay in about 70 countries
And punishable by life ending practices in 14 countries
Same-sex marriage is legal in only 27 countries
Besides many downs, there have also been many wins for the community. This year alone, Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage and Angola, Botswana and Bhutan have decriminalised homosexuality. So we also have a very good reason to CELEBRATE!
Read why Taiwan – in my opinion – is Asia’s best LGBTQ+ destination
Why Can’t We Have Straight Pride?
In Boston they got this silly idea to celebrate Straight Pride. Daniel Ivey – Co-Chair of the Metropolitan Police LGBT+ Network – has the answer(s) to why you can’t have Straight Pride.
- have never been arrested for being straight.
- have always been allowed to serve in the military
- can donate blood
- have always been able to get married
- don’t get stopped from working just because they’re straight
- generally are not imprisoned, flogged, or stoned for being in a relationship
- booking a honeymoon don’t get told by the travel agent that they will have to tell everyone they are brother and sister, or that they shouldn’t really visit that Country as it’s not very safe for straight people and certainly not straight couples.
Be thankful you don’t need a Pride!
Read how to safely travel the world as a lesbian
How to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community
Sorry for getting so serious so fast, but this is a serious subject! Now, let’s hand you the tools to be an amazing ally. GOOD TO KNOW: it ain’t easy, you will need to reflect and admit you’re wrong sometimes, but trust us: it’ll be worth it, cause YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Educate yourself about LGBTQ+ matters. You gotta do research and you’ll realise you’ve been saying things wrong, you’ll discover some prejudices and bias. Because you didn’t know better. Honestly, we even get the language wrong sometimes (we’re also not native English speakers) and that is OKAY, we continue learning on a daily basis! Recently someone pointed out there’s a significant difference between tolerance and acceptance, seems small, but is important to correct.
Where to find more info? Google, Youtube and LGBT+ media are your best friend! If you’re wondering about what terms to use, make sure to check out this LGBT glossary.
LGBTQQIAAP (full acronym)
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual
Ask questions and really listen to the answers. Like Meg Cale said in her article: ‘it’s our space, you’re a guest in our space’. This isn’t about your experiences, and you’ll learn how different LGBTQ+ experiences are. You won’t be able to KNOW what it feels like but you can listen.
But also talk
You have to help spread the love! You gotta continue the conversation with your straight friends and speak up when people use offensive language. In the Netherlands “homo” (gay) is often used the wrong way – even by our family members. Same goes for the English language. When you say “that’s so gay”, do you realise what you say? Here’s Hilary Duff explaining why that’s insulting:
Confront not only your own prejudice but also of others. In the online world, you can also report comments or posts that are offensive. Take action and defend your LGBTQ+ friends!
Create a Safe Space
Be inclusive and treat all people with respect. It helps to never assume someone’s gender or sexual orientation. You have to show your open-mindedness, never just say ‘I’m open-minded’: show them!
SAFE SPACEOxford Dictionaries
a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.
Be reassuring and when a person comes out to you, explain you don’t see them differently! If an LGBTQ+ person confides in you, know that it’s your job to be a safekeeper. It is not up to you to out anyone, as that will break trust. Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.
If you’re at a Pride celebration, be careful whom to photograph: there will be people joining who are not out to their families and friends. If you’re going to distribute the pictures online, it can cause a lot of trouble. So many people (gorgeous drag queens for example) will happily take a picture with you, but be respectful and ask permission.
Support the LGBTQ+ community year-round
It’s fun to slap a rainbow on everything and be supportive one month a year – but a real ally is supportive year-round. Don’t be a part-timer! We have made a list of global organisations helping the LGBTQ+ community year-round, that can always use support by either donation or exposure (so go share this article!!!)
- Rainbow Railroad – helps LGBTQI people escape persecution and violence in countries all over the world.
- The Trevor Project – saves young LGBTQ lives in the USA.
- All Out – the global movement for love and equality.
- Amnesty International – helps advance LGBT rights with their LGBTI rights are human rights-campaign.
- HIVOS – originally a Dutch human rights organisation, now operating globally. Donate in English through Geef.nl.
- Aidsfonds – a Dutch organisation started by a group of gay men to fight HIV & AIDS.
Do you know of any other great global LGBTQ+ charities?
Let us know in the comments!
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