How To Be A Good LGBTQIA+ Ally During Pride Month — And Year Round

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How To Be A Good Ally During LGBTQ Pride Month (And Year Round)
Self

Many times we think that we must do big things to help or support a cause, especially if that cause involves human beings.

Unfortunately, when we think we must do something huge, we freeze in fear and uncertainty and instead do nothing.

This happens often in relation to the most important matters facing us all, such as helping the homeless, working to end hunger, caring for at-risk children, supporting cancer research, and being an ally to BIPOC or the LGBTQIA+ community.

When we think massive contribution is the only acceptable way to help, we feel not only powerless, but also made minuscule while standing in front of a seemingly impossible task. And so we give up instead of taking small steps to approach our own role the situation.

You don't have to be a martyr to be an ally. Sometimes you just need a few good ideas for small, medium and larger ways you can be proactively supportive in impactful ways.

So here is some advice on what you can do to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month 2020.

First, of all, know that you do not need to be someone who identifies under the LGBTQIA+ spectrum in order to be helpful to those people who do.

RELATED: 5 Things Straight People At Pride Need To Know About Being A Good LGBTQIA Ally

If you are a heterosexual, cisgender person (meaning you identify with the gender you were assign at birth), you can still be supportive. Just as with anything else, you only need to want to in order to be so.

Of course, there is a long list of places that Google can alert you to where you can volunteer to do different things, from getting involved in auctions to serving meals.

But I want to point out something I think is especially important to do not just during the month of June, but throughout all 12 months of each year. It may sound silly or too obvious to you, but trust me, this is paramount for anyone who belongs to a minority group.

You can, and you should, support LGBTQIA people through the revolutionary notion of simply being, and teaching others, to be civil — "a mensch" as it is said.

Be someone worth calling a mature human being.

What does this mean in reality? It's pretty easy and straightforward.

To begin with, acknowledge people who are different from you as your fellow human beings.

We are all together on this short journey to the other side. And as you know, life flies by too quickly.

To acknowledge someone means that you would treat that person, at the very least, as you would like others to treat you. It means that if a transgender person comes into your environment, you do not stare; comment to whoever is next to you, or roll your eyes — and the same goes for a family with two dads or two moms.

You treat them as you would treat anyone else. And if you see someone not doing that, you stand up for the person being mistreated and help them feel at ease.

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At this point, you might think that these suggestions aren't the kind you were envisioning when you were wondering how to be a supportive ally, and I understand that. But the most basic and perhaps thing you can do is offer your fellow human beings the respect they deserve.

Of course, there are things you can do to be supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community in other ways as well.

Some examples include:

1. Giving money or giving time to an LGBTQ organization

2. Volunteering with transgender youth

3. Cooking meals for LGBTQ elders

4. Getting involved in politics

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You can also be supportive and helpful by making sure neither you not anyone you know perform acts of microaggression.

Microaggressions are defined as "brief and common daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental communications, whether intentional or unintentional, that transmit hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to a target person because they belong to a stigmatized group."

For example, a trans man or trans woman may be misgendered due to genuine confusion, in which case you should sincerely apologize. But this often happens purposely out of spite and meanness.

If you see this happens, you can put a stop to it.

LGBTQ people feel discriminated against more than you probably realize. Be the support that they need — and be there for them not only in June, but year-round on a daily basis.

If you want to be of direct service, start small and work yourself up to where you want to be. If politics is your interest, get involved in getting LGBTQ people elected. If you feel passionate about helping LGBTQ youth, volunteer to be there for them.

And, of course, educating other cisgender, heterosexual people and demanding that they not be rude it is an an important way to work toward positive change in this world.

If you do any of the things discussed above, it would be great to hear from you. What did you decide to try as a way of supporting the community? What was your experience in doing it? Let me know!

RELATED: 20+ Virtual Events Happening In June To Celebrate LGBT Pride Month

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Irene Celcer, LCSW, is a psychotherapist based in the United States and Buenos Aires, Argentina​. Visit her website to contact her for one free phone consultation if you have concerns about your gender identity or orientation.