Whether you identify as an LGBTQ+ individual or you’re an ally, there’s a lot you can do to support the community. Regrettably, there’s no road map for this process. You’ll need to figure out how you can best make a difference. If you’re looking for ideas, here are five effective ways to support the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Engage in Politics
One of the most direct ways you can support the LGBTQ+ community is through political action. While the United States has made gay marriage legal, several states are still pushing against this with various policies. You can fight against these initiatives by entering the political landscape. Your participation could be at a variety of levels, so don’t worry if you can’t immerse yourself in politics. If you’re able to make a career out of politics, try to find ways to support the LGBTQ+ community on a regular basis. For instance, DNC Deputy National Finance Chair Claire Lucas DC chairs the LGBTQ Council for the DNC. Whatever you do, remember what you got into politics for. You can make a real difference in this field, so don’t give up if you encounter failure.
2. Conduct Research
Knowledge is power. Without it, you won’t be able to engage in an informed discussion on this topic, much less understand the topic yourself. Therefore, it’s essential that you conduct research on the LGBTQ+ community. Start off by learning about the history surrounding this topic. You should look into major events that have taken place throughout the nation, such as the Stonewall riots and the end of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act). Read into the various terminologies that are used within the community. You may also want to research what each pride flag represents. Some have negative connotations or are less inclusive than others. Lastly, you’ll need to do some scientific research. Since the science surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals is unfortunately still contested, being better informed on it will serve you well.
3. Wear Supportive Gear
Sometimes, the best way to show your support is to wear it. All you need to do is find some way to show LGBTQ+ pride through your clothing or accessories. There are many different symbols for this community, so choose which one appeals to you most. Many use the various pride flags to show support for different identities. For instance, you could wear clothes that display the lesbian flag, the bisexual flag, or aromantic flags.
If you want to show your support to a wider array of people, consider wearing the progress pride flag. This flag adds in representation for transgender individuals, those lost to aids, and people of color. If you want to be more subtle, you could simply wear the colors of these flags. You can also go in a different direction and wear clothing with supportive phrases. When you display these symbols and messages, it lets LGBTQ+ people know that you’re safe and an advocate.
4. Speak Out Against Harassment
If you’re looking for an easy way to support the LGBTQ+ community in daily life, try speaking out against any harassment you witness. This doesn’t only refer to intense situations, although it’s certainly helpful to speak up when those occur. Any form of harassment, no matter how small, can be responded to with calm and concise rebuffs. If, for instance, you hear a slur being shouted at someone across the street, try to correct the offending individual. However, you should try to avoid getting into shouting matches. When both sides are riled up, it’s unlikely that any progress can be made. This isn’t to say that you should avoid fighting for your or someone else’s rights, but you may want to avoid unnecessary violence when possible.
5. Donate to Nonprofits
While it’s certainly helpful to practice everyday acts of allyship, the power of money shouldn’t be underestimated. This is by no means an encouragement to bribe those in power. Instead, money can be used to help those in the LGBTQ+ community that are struggling. Unfortunately, many people in this community are still being discriminated against to the point of violence. Some young people are made to be homeless, and many struggle with mental health issues. You can help to curb these problems by donating to a worthy organization. One of the best nonprofits to look into is The Trevor Project, which provides crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youths under 25. You may also want to consider donating to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which is a group that monitors the media and analyzes LGBTQ+ representation.
Making a difference isn’t easy. However, it’s a journey that needs to be taken. If you put legitimate energy into helping the LGBTQ+ community, at least one person is likely to be positively affected. At the end of the day, that one changed life is worth the effort.
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