Listed here are just a few of the ways everyone can be a better ally. Sure, knowing LGBTQ+ people is one thing, and yes, using proper terminology does show solidarity with the community, but a true ally will take the plight of the LGBTQ+ community to heart, and act upon it at every sign of intolerance.
1. KNOW YOUR STUFF!
Commit trans terms to memory. Use them as often as possible. Information is constantly changing and new research analytics are released by reputable firms quite often. As more and more information becomes available, allies should keep up to date with their interpretations of those situations facing the LGBTQ+ community. Always be learning!
2. OPEN MIND / LEVEL HEADED
One key way to show allyship is to always keep an open mind as new information is learned. Most people find it difficult to understand situations that aren’t happening to them personally. That said, open mindedness is essential for anyone seeking to fully understand the community they choose to represent through ally-ship.
As for remaining level headed, most allies can tell you that when it comes to dealing with intolerance and hate – it is usually the person who is the most opinionated that is also the very same one who is most uneducated. When engaging with these types of people, and yes, you should. Try to site reputable educational sources. The only way these intolerant people will ever get educated is by having folks like you driving it into their small minds. They aren’t going to read the articles you read, they aren’t going to know the people you know. The best thing anyone can do here is try to get in one or two bonafide speaking points and hope that the other person eventually “gets it”. Sometimes they do. Most of then don’t. KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME TO WALK AWAY.
3. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE PLIGHT OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY
Be sure to do a bit of research about where the origins of the community stem from, as it is essential to understanding how and why things are viewed the way they are.
4. LEARN ABOUT INEQUALITY & INTOLERANCE
And prepare yourself to step in and do something about it. If you encounter a trans person being asked inappropriate questions – INTERJECT. Tell the person asking the question exactly why it is inappropriate.
5. JOIN YOUR SCHOOL’S GSA
If your school has a GAY STRAIGHT ALLIANCE – JOIN IT! It could very well be one of the most eye opening and enjoyable experiences. There aren’t enough cis “STRAIGHT” people who put this one into action.
School doesn’t have a GSA? START ONE!
6. GO WHERE THEY GO
By now you know very well that LGBTQ+ people are everywhere. Go to the places they go. Offer to befriend anyone willing to do the same with you.