Pride 2018: How I Hope to Be a Better LGBTQ Ally
All around the globe, June marks the most mega major month that we celebrate Pride. As an ally of LGBTQ persons and the community at large I feel that positive, inclusive changes have happened, thank Dumbledore, but I am acutely aware that I have so much more work to do.
Gay culture has never been cooler. Fashion has played a huge role in inclusion and self expression and I am so proud. Regardless of your personal preferences, there is something for everyone. From “RuPaul’s Drag Race” entertaining more and more family living rooms; trans people representation on shows like ”Orange is the New Black;" and revivals of shows like “Queer Eye,” society at large is not only tolerating, many are actually rejoicing ‘gayness’. I heard somewhere that to fully accept someone, you need to get to the point where you are celebrating him/her/they. That’s why Pride is so important. You need to see it to believe that it could be a positive experience for you too. Loving who you want and how you want is a right. Some of us are so there.
Many are not. There are harsh truths that we must keep educating ourselves on, not only to keep perspective but also to not give up the fight. The Trevor Project reports that LGBTQ youth are nearly three times more likely than heterosexual youth to contemplate suicide. Bullying is a huge problem all across our schools and LGBTQ youth are often frequent, persistent targets. Objectification of bodies - male, female, and non binary - are issues that we have to find better solutions for. Teaching acceptance and inclusivity is sometimes attacked, even here in Canada. Jessi Cruickshank, fashion darling and CBC host, was both celebrated and more importantly seriously threatened for putting together a sexually diversity pride month celebration segment with children. I can't even.
What all of these challenges to the LGBTQ community have in common are other people asserting themselves on LGBTQ persons presumably because they believe they know or are better. That somehow there is a “right” way.
In the past, it was expected for those homophobic, terrible, and inhumane thoughts to be kept to oneself at the very least and perform some diversity and inclusion coaching at best. Let's be clear: people have the right to live their own lives. In Canada we protect that right with law. But in our larger current climate, hate is rebranded as free speech. Nastiness is come out of the cracks. It’s not okay. LGBTQ people are people, people. Regardless of the acceptance of hate - as this is the world we inconceivably now live in - I’m not okay with it.
That said, we could all be quick to point the fingers at what we would expect or have others do. But as the old saying goes something like, “When you point a finger at someone else, there’s three more pointing back at you.” Right. Got it.
This Pride I am going to focus on how I can help. I am committed to evolving my education and awareness and hope to positively affect the people I come into contact with personally. As a LGBTQ ally:
I will confront anti-LGBT language – jokes, slurs, micro aggressions – regardless of the mouth it is coming out of.
I will support openly gay owned and/or run businesses.
I will invite LGBTQ person(s) to my parties and events.
I will go to LGBTQ events when invited and show my support and acceptance.
I will promote messages of love, support, and acceptance from and for the LGBTQ community.
I will educate myself on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
I will be sure to listen to LGBTQ person(s) perspectives more and speak less.