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10 Ways to be an LGBTQ+ Ally During Pride Month (And All Year)

Published: JUNE 1, 2022 | Updated: JULY 21, 2022 10:14:44
Wearing rainbow and attending parades is great—if you want to. But real allyship towards LGBTQIA2S+ people does much more than that. And it does it all year round.

Have you ever wondered how can you support LGBTQIA2S+ communities beyond Pride Month—in a real and meaningful way?

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You've come to the right place.

This is by no means an exhaustive list—consider it a place to get started. Here are 10 ways you can support LGBTQIA2S+ communities beyond buying rainbow-themed merchandise:

1. Listen

If you make allyship all about you, you’re doing it wrong.

You may come from different experiences, needs and perspectives than LGTBQIA+ folks, but thatt doesn’t mean you can’t learn from us. The key is to listen to what we have to say and let us center our own stories.

We have direct knowledge about the issues and challenges that affect us from our daily lived experiences. Listen to the voices of people who’ve been historically excluded from the mainstream conversation. Every human being receives an opportunity to connect, grow and relate when we are heard.

READ: POV: Trans Sex Workers.

2. Check Your Privilege

If you identify as heterosexual, you’re afforded certain benefits based solely on your sexual orientation. Think legal, social, personal, economic and psychological privileges, like:

  • Having your sexual identity represented often, and accurately, in TV, movies and music.
  • Social acceptance from friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.
  • Getting reduced rates with a partner on health, auto and homeowner’s insurance (yay, marriage equality).
  • Lower instances of bullying and hate crimes.

In short, if you're straight, you can live your life without facing heterosexism.

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3. Educate Yourself

Sure, it’s fine if you want to attend a local Pride parade. But please, take a minute to learn about the major events that put LGBTQIA2S+ visibility on the map.

Learn about the Harlem drag balls in the 1920’s and '30s; learn how the Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the Gay Rights Movement; look at Harvey Milk's heroic efforts and watch “Paris Is Burning”—the quintessential documentary on the New York ballroom scene in the 1980s and 1990s.

READ: Florida's New 'Don't Say Gay' Bill.

4. Use the Right Pronouns

Asking for and correctly using someone’s pronouns shows respect, acceptance and support for a person’s gender identity—especially those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming.

Here are some things to remember about pronoun usage:

  • A person's pronouns won’t necessarily align with a person’s appearance or the sex a person was assigned at birth.
  • Never assume someone’s pronouns based on how they look—it only reinforces harmful stereotypes about gender expression.
  • If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, ask. A simple “Which pronouns do you use?” will suffice.
  • If you slip up, apologize, correct yourself and continue the conversation.

Being conscious about pronoun usage will get easier with practice. The first step is making a genuine effort at getting a person’s pronouns right.

5. Reframe “Ally” as a Verb, Not a Noun

Being a good ally is more than lip service.

It’s fine to say you’re an ally—but take a long hard look at how you actually speak up and take action for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. What are you doing to create equity, inclusion and real impact? Showing up for LGBTQIA2S+ friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors is the first step to achieving real change.

6. Speak Up

Allies can leverage their privileged position to advocate for marginalized groups—particularly in spaces where they are not always heard.

When they do speak up, allies should first acknowledge their privilege, then engage in difficult social justice dialogues and fight for equality among the oppressed.

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READ: Navigating Pride as an Ally.

7. Volunteer

Everyone brings something to the table that can benefit the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Whether you’re looking for something in Canada, the U.S., or something local—like volunteering at a youth drop-in center or at a one-off event—there’s a need that matches your time, energy and skillset.

8. Donate to LGBTQIA2S+ Organizations

Every June, the rainbows come out and too many corporations virtue-signal support of the LGBTQIA2S+ community for 30 whole days. Then, like clockwork, they pack up their “Love Is Love” banners until the following year.

Sure, there’s a big push to put your money where your mouth is during Pride Month (and by all means do) But recognize there is financial need the other 11 months of the year. One way to do this is by making a regular monthly donation to a worthy charity.

A few options to consider include:

9. Push Lawmakers to Pass The Equality Act

To support LGBTQIA2S+ folks' rights, equality and healthcare access in the U.S., contact your Senators and implore them pass The Equality Act (H.R. 5/S.393), which will provide federal civil rights protections for all LGBTQIA2S+ people. (It passed in the House in February 2021.)

Another way to be a good ally is to stay politically active and aware. Learn about current issues of importance to the LGBTQIA2S+ community, sign petitions, call lawmakers, and vote.

And if you’re queer, please register to vote. According to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, fewer queer Americans are registered to vote (61%) compared to non-queer counterparts (67%), and we also show up at slightly lower rates (79%) than non-queer folks (81%).

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10. Call out Hate on Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter are all “effectively unsafe for LGBTQIA2S+ users,” according to GLAAD's 2021 Social Media Safety Index. It cites a 2021 report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) finding that queer and transgender people experienced disproportionately high rates of harassment online: 64% compared to 41% for the general population.

If you see hate, bullying, or harassment, report it. (Reporting rates are increasing but still dangerously low.)

And if you have kids, talk with them about their online lives and experiences. Any hate directed toward LGBTQIA2S+ kids should be taken just as seriously online as it is offline.

Conclusion

Wearing rainbow and attending parades is great—if you want to. But real allyship towards LGBTQIA2S+ people does much more than that.

And it does it all year round.

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Photo for Ryn Pfeuffer
Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.

She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says

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