How To Support The LGBTQIA+ Community Today & Every Day



June rings the start of Pride Month, a time where communities, businesses, and people come together to support the LGBTQIA+ community and the fight for equality. The month of celebrations began to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York, which marks the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against the LGBTQIA+ community.

Now, every June the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies come together to honor and celebrate the trailblazers who came before them and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for the LQBTQIA+ community.

However, it’s important to let the colors of the rainbow shine beyond the month of June. Here’s how to really support and show your solidarity to the community all year round.

1. Get Learning

Celebrating Pride begins with education: unlearning and re-learning. Attend LGBTQIA+-led seminars and conversations, and stay informed on current events through social sources to become a better ally, teacher, partner, and friend. Take time out to understand gender – it is a beautiful spectrum – read about Pride history, and learn about the challenges faced by the community.

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2. Don’t Make Assumptions

Recognize internalized heteronormativity: Gender has been inaccurately distinguished as either male or female for far too long. Become a better ally by leaving your assumptions at the door – a person’s look, style, manner of speech, or actions play no factor in their gender or sexual orientation. Instead, allow them to assert their identities for themselves and believe them – that means no follow-up “Really?” conversations!

Use the right pronouns: It may seem like a tiny step, but always ask for someone’s name and pronouns ahead of a conversation, as many may not identify with the gender labels they were assigned at birth. LGBTQIA+ voices are often misgendered, which can be demeaning and hurtful, so it’s important to make your language as inclusive as possible. By asking for their pronouns of choice, you acknowledge their emotions, validate their experiences, and show that you respect their gender identity. It’s also important to introduce your pronouns when you meet someone, even if you are cis-gendered (you identify with your assigned birth sex) as this will normalize the practice and signify that you don’t assume someone’s gender. Try, “Hi, my name is _____, I use _____ pronouns, so nice to meet you!”

Don’t make assumptions about what Pride should look like: If you know a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, don’t assume they wish to celebrate Pride month in the way in which you perceive it “should” be celebrated. The month has become hugely commercialized, even performative, and as a result, many people within the community can find this triggering and frustrating. So don’t assume that someone should celebrate or presume how they should. And remember, your support as an ally should be year-round and go deeper than attending a Pride party.

3. Get Comfortable with Queer

Queer was once used as a derogatory term, but it has been reclaimed by the LGBTQIA+ (Q standing for queer) community. This multi-faceted term can be used in different ways and can be used as a sexual orientation or identity label. For example, not fitting cultural norms around sexuality and/or gender identity/expression, being attracted to people of different genders, or simply someone who considers themselves non-heterosexual. Learn more about the term queer, the way it’s used, and what it means to those from the LGBTQIA+ community here.

4. Use Inclusive Language

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Tiny changes in the way we speak can challenge internalized heteronormativity, especially since most of the labels we use are all gendered. From “boys and girls” in school to “ladies and gentlemen” in the workplace, it’s clear that much of common language isn’t always very inclusive. These gender labels (not to mention, the trillion Mr./Mrs. boxes to be filled on legal documents) can be alienating and othering to those who don’t identify with either label.

Avoid gendered word choices like “his/hers” and opt for gender-neutral terms like “they/theirs” when referring to someone who hasn’t explicitly informed you of their preferred pronouns. Similarly, use gender-neutral terms like “partner/spouse” when discussing romantic relationships (even if you know what your addressee identifies with) to create a positive and safe atmosphere.

5. Speak Up & Speak Out

It’s important to call out anti-LGBTQIA+ behavior whenever and wherever you see it. The community has been exposed to demeaning slurs, harmful actions, and hurtful words for far too long – and you can help put an end to this. Even actions like asking people not to use words in derogatory ways or correcting a misused pronoun can plant a seed and help that person educate themselves on the importance of inclusive language and behavior. So never forget to stand up for the LGBTIA+ community (especially when they’re not around), correct your peers, and take the time to help those around you understand why language, representation, and most importantly, human rights matter.

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With that said, while it’s important to speak up and speak out, it’s also important to allow those from the community to lead the conversation. Similarly, be wary to never “out” someone who has shared their gender orientation or sexual preferences with you. If they felt comfortable sharing that with you, it’s privileged information that shouldn’t be shared with a wider group without their consent.

6. Tune into Media Created by the Community

Representation matters for all marginalized communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community. Diversify your social feeds, expand your watch list, listen to podcasts, and read books authored by LGBTQIA+ voices. By consciously choosing content that represents and is from the community, you can gain a deeper understanding of the LGBTIA+ perspective and where they wish to be supported. By doing so, you also rearrange the blocks for their success in the corporate world.

7. Donate Time, Money & Effort

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health reveals that suicidal thoughts among LGBTQIA+ youth have increased in the last three years, making it all the more important for us to stand alongside our peers. There are plenty of LGBTQIA+ organizations like ACLU, Out & Equal, and SAGE that are working toward creating an inclusive society. Whether you choose to donate your time as an avid supporter, monetarily by contributing funds, or socially by sharing their educational content on social media – know that you’re helping create a safe space for the underrepresented. When it comes to monetary support, be conscious when buying rainbow-themed merch, and check whether your money is going to support and give back to the community it’s intended to celebrate.

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8. Be Kind & Listen Without Judgement

Be kind – the LGBTQIA+ community has suffered underrepresentation, acts of violence, harassment, and discrimination for far too long. Take the time to listen to everything they wish to share in their own time – never be quick to assume or invalidate their experiences. And remember, if you do say something that offends a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, don’t argue back or be defensive. Listen to their perspective and don’t assume they’ll educate you in detail on where you’ve gone wrong. When this happens, it’s important for you to take away their opinion and do more research in your own time.

Be the change you wish to see in the world, whether that’s at your school, university, social circle, or workplace. Encourage an open dialogue no matter what the occasion or setting – the goal is to always uplift, encourage, and support the community.

How do you celebrate Pride? Let us know in the comments below.