For its State of the LGBTQ Community report, the Center for American Progress surveyed 1,528 LGBTQ adults to learn about topics like barriers in healthcare, how their adjusting to the pandemic, and what kind of discrimination they face.
In the report, the Center found that “more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination of some kind in the past year, including more than 3 in 5 transgender Americans.” In other words, the LGBTQIA+ community needs the support of all of us to help end the discrimination they face on an, unfortunately, frequent basis. Here’s how you can advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community on a daily basis.
Make sure the LGBTQIA+ people in your life know you’re there for them. Offer an ear when they need to vent, listen to their concerns, and learn directly from them what they need in a true ally. While it’s not their job to tell you how to be an ally, if they have particular requests or thoughts, it can be helpful to learn the first steps in your allyship from a member of the community.
That allyship will look different from person to person. Some of your loved ones may just want you to accompany them to a local Pride celebration in your best Pride clothing while others may request that you read books or follow local LGBTQ-supporting nonprofits.
Either way, it’s important for the LGBTQIA+ community to feel supported and to have someone they can turn to if they need a non-LGBTQIA+ person to advocate on their behalf.
If you want to be an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s important to know what you’re advocating for and why. In order to be a true ally, it’s crucial that you educate yourself about the struggles that have led to this moment and the struggles that lie ahead.
In an article by Hannah Yasharoff on USAToday.com,a number of educational resources are offered to want-to-be allies: check out GLSEN’s guide to LGBTQ history, GLSEN’s guide to pronouns, PFLAG’s guide to being a straight ally, and more. In the article, Amit Paley, the CEO of the Trevor Project, states that “it’s really important that people take the time themselves to learn about LGBTQ identities.”
While strides have been made when it comes to LGBTQIA+ advocacy at work, Psychology Today reports that LGBTQIA+ folks still face discrimination and stress in the office. They are faced with stress around big issues like whether or not to come out at work or how to correct a boss or coworker who assumes they’re straight.
These challenges are tough, but with the support of straight folks in the office, they can be made significantly less stressful (and even non-existent). Help your office become a welcoming, accepting environment for all—and one where assumptions aren’t made about someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
It’s important to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community in all of the communities that you’re part of—not just among your family and friends, but at work, too.
If a loved one says something homophobic or problematic, don’t be afraid to call them out. It’s not OK to sit back and listen to someone disparage a group of people who you’re trying to advocate for. No matter how uncomfortable the conversation is, it’s necessary not to let these things slide. You don’t have to be combative, but you can quickly let the offender know that what they’re saying is not OK.
There are many, many groups and people working to make life more equitable and safer for LGBTQIA+ folks. You can support the projects and initiatives put on by these groups by donating your money or time. Look into efforts by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Trevor Project, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign.
There are also more than likely local groups in your community directly helping LGBT people in your area. You can choose to make a one-time or recurring donation to these organizations or take a more hands-on role by volunteering at an event or even applying for a part-time role.
The fact that you’re reading this article is a great first step. You already want to be an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, and now just by following these steps, you can bring that to fruition. Supporting marginalized communities is a powerful way to ensure equality can be achieved for all.