The LGBTQIA+ community is achieving more equality and acceptance in the world as the years go on. This community is striving to normalize respecting identity and gender association. However, discrimination and marginalization still persist. As individuals who believe in justice and equality, it is our job to support and stand in union with the LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout this blog I am going to further go into the importance of being an ally, the challenges facing the community and show you how you can take steps to become an effective ally.
Understanding LGBTQIA+: Terminology and Identities
It is essential to educate yourself about LGBTQIA+ terminology and the different identities that exist in the community. LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and the + represents all other identities that exist aside from the acronym.
Getting yourself familiar with these terms are crucial to becoming an ally. Understanding the differences between transgender, non-binary, and cisgender individuals are included in that. I believe that more of us should recognize that sexuality and gender identity exist on a spectrum, rather than being strictly binary. By grasping these concepts, you are promoting respect and inclusivity which is so important to our morality as humans.
Listening and Empathy
One of the most important aspects of allyship is listening to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals. I personally have many individuals in my life who don’t identify with the heterosexual norm, and hearing their stories or experiences has taught me so much, not just about a different community, but about the harsh realities of the world we live in.
Right now can be your opportunity to practice active listening and empathy. Our society has created a universal opinion of sexuality. Understanding the struggles of others can develop into creating non-judgemental conversations which is such a valuable practice.
An effective ally challenges stereotypes and biases that are against the LGBTQIA+ community. Taking time to examine your own beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices is a good intentional action.
Questioning societal norms in this free world is a good way to implement broad-mindedness in yourself. Societal norms are always ever-changing with different times or eras. Challenging these norms or stereotypes is how we can remind others, and ourselves, that change is a good thing. By doing all these things you are contributing to creating a more inclusive society for all.
Supporting LGBTQIA+ Rights
Being an ally means actively advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights. Some ways you can do that is by staying informed about current legal and social issues affecting the community. You can support organizations and initiatives that promote LGBTQIA+ equality. Attend rallies, marches, or public events that advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights. By doing your part you help change the systemic barriers that have been implemented in society.
When becoming an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community it is important to remember that continuous learning and having an open mind is crucial to maintaining these relationships. Within yourself, choosing to practice active listening and support to others you can begin to apply some societal changes into our world.
All these elements play a crucial role in advancing the equality and acceptance of everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Together we can build a better more welcoming world!
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Cheyenne Gallagher is the Marketing Specialist at Catalyss Counseling. She coordinates all our social media channels and other marketing duties. She has a strong passion for mental health because she believes counseling saved her during a hard time in her life. She hopes to educate others on the importance too! Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.