Meenal Patel (she/her/hers), Licensed Professional Counselor

If you have read my previous blogs, I have talked a lot about the LGBTQ+ community and gaining a better understanding of what the letters mean and how you can support a loved one who might be “coming out”. In addition to that, you might not know anyone who is Queer or you might just want to learn more about how to support them more. You have come to the right place! In this blog, I am going to identify a few ways for you to understand and support Queer individuals and make them feel safe in the world we live in.

“Allyship is not an identity—it is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people. Allyship is not self-defined—our work and our efforts must be recognized by the people we seek to ally ourselves with.” (Allyship, 2017)

Check your own insecurities and leave them at the door

There might be times when you slip up with gender fluid pronouns or someone corrects with your understanding of a certain term, but that is okay. Do not get defensive or retreat back from helping this community. Take what they are telling you as a learning lesson and move on. Correct your own mistakes and try to work harder.

Be open to learning

There is a lot to learn within the LGTBQ+ community. Be ready to learn and use what you have learned in practice. Educate yourself-do your research, talk to people, and most importantly do not be afraid to ask questions. Adjust what you learn and keep on growing!

Don’t ask people to do it for you — you do it

You cannot let people do the work for you if you are wanting to become an ally. Be curious of what you want to learn, but also as mentioned in the previous point, do your own research. Watch movies, tv shows, podcasts, etc about the LGBTQ community. Surround yourself with queer people.

You do not get to pick and choose

Being a Queer ally, does not mean that you get to pick which group to help. Be an ally to everyone. Many folks begin the road of becoming an ally due to a friend or family member coming out. Ally ship should not just stop with your loved one. There are many organizations that also help bridge the gap between queer people and allies such as PFlag and Gay-Straight Alliance groups that are out there. Find them and utilize those resources!

Watch your language

Yes, sometimes the terminology can be difficult to get a grasp of, but being sure that you are being aware of what words you are using. If you are unsure, ask them what they prefer to be called by or how they identify. It is better for you, and the other individual, that you ask questions instead of mis gendering or mis-identifying them. If you feel unsure, a great way is to start by introducing yourself and providing your preferred pronouns first. It’s a great way to break the ice!

Listen

Be committed to just listen to what Queer people have to tell you. Listen to their experiences and their stories. They are not often times wanting support or advice, they just want someone to listen to them and not judge them. They feel comfortable talking to you, so do not lose that for them.

Speak up and act

We often get asked how can I help? If you hear someone using the wrong terminology, correct them. Using what you have learned to educate other people. Donate to organizations. Attend events. Volunteer at events.

If you feel like want to be committed or are struggling to be an ally to Queer people, but do not know where to start, feel free to contact Meenal Patel, LPC. She can help you through the struggles you might be having with the LGBTQ community.

Allyship. (2017, November 28). Retrieved March 01, 2019, from https://theantioppressionnetwork.com/allyship/