Talk is cheap they say, it’s so much easier to say a thing than to do a thing. Sometimes, saying that thing just isn’t enough. Sometimes, even doing that thing, if only done once, just isn’t enough. Today is the first Sunday of Pride Month in these United States, so we’re only a few short days into what I believe is one of a few actually important holidays and calendar events, and I felt it was my duty, my privilege, my honor, to express my belief on the subject, and to explain that I do agree, sometimes, saying you support a thing is not enough. Sometimes, we gotta do more.
This is what it is to be an ally for the LGBTQIA+ community, this is what it is to actually show up for those that have been fighting such an impossible, unjust, and ridiculous battle for longer than you’d ever believe. We cannot simply Say we support Pride, or the one month of twelve that commemorate it, we cannot simply say we’re allies, we have to do more. We have to show up, and then show up again, and then vote, and then scream, and then use whatever silly privilege we’re unfairly given as cisgendered or heterosexual citizens of a planet that for some reason still cannot get it through its thick skull that love is love is love is love.
If it feels like I’m lecturing you, it’s probably because I am. I have no way of actually knowing if you deserve this lecture or not, so if you do not, I love you and please carry on being the badass ally that you are, that you’ve probably always been. If you’re reading this and you feel even a slight twinge of guilt or regret or shame or “ooh, this is kinda pointed at me,” then I will say this, with all the love I possess:
You’re damn right it’s pointed at you. We NEED you in this fight. Do better.
But, you ask, fairly as there are so many unknowns that swirl about us in this murky sea of prejudice and disgusting hate, BUT, how do I do this? How do I be a better ally, how do I “show up” for those that need all the help they can get? I’m glad you asked. People like lists, so I’ll make a little list that breaks it down in some very simple, very important ways that we can all be better allies to the queer community, in all the stunning rainbow-hued shapes it may take.
Pick one to start, but do them all, and in the comments at the end of this Pride Month celebratory post, I’d love for you to ring in with even more ideas, tips, and areas we can help more, be more, do more, say more, and lend our privilege to the fray.
Be a Safe Place To Come Out To - I firmly believe no one should ever have to ‘come out’ as there should never be a closet to be in at all, but fact is, our global society is very often way behind the times, and this is still a thing. A very simple, beautiful way to be an ally is to be a safe place for someone to come out to, and if that means you’re the very first to be told, what an honor. Live your life in a loud enough way that from miles away, those in your life know that you’re a harbor in the tempest, and they can come to you with the biggest sentence they will arguably ever have to say.
Have The Hard Conversations - Fact is, you’re gonna run head-first into opposition when you’re supporting the LGBTQ+ community. It’s gross and sad as hell, but it’s true. Where YOU can start, is those around you, family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. Have the hard conversations about unfortunately-held archaic beliefs on sexuality with those in your life, ask the questions, present your (much more intelligent) opposition, and risk the discomfort and boat-rocking in order to make people talk about their prejudice. You’d be shocked how often just saying it out-loud and hearing intelligent rebuttal will begin the process of changing a mind.
Create A Climate Of Inclusion - Set up get-togethers, gatherings, parties, whatever, that create a climate of inclusion. Bringing ALL of your friends and family, despite their beliefs, in one location at one time, can be an instrumental way to erode away outdated prejudices.
Support And Use Proper Pronouns - Add your pronouns to all of your bios, your email signatures, your resumes, anything. Showing that you support a persons right to choose their own pronouns by displaying yours is a simple, wonderful way to show inclusion and support.
Speak The F*$k UP - Someone telling shitty jokes, or using slurs, or anything that serves as a systematic reduction of the LGBTQ+ community? Speak up, stand up, and be the voice (sometimes you might be the only one) of opposition. Make them feel like shit for being shitty. It’s ok.
Stickers Go A Long Way - You might not think so, but putting pride stickers, badges, emblems, or whatever, on your car, on your water bottle, on your laptop, on your cell phone, actually go a long way for visibility and support.
Go To The Damn Parades/Rallies/Protests - Yep, show up. Simply saying you support them isn’t enough, show the f up and wear rad clothes and join the community. The bigger the crowds, the louder the screams and applause, the more it says to those that still don’t support, You’re wrong, so very wrong, and this massive rainbow of humanity is proof.
Support LGBTQ+ Businesses/Publications/Artists - Give your money to businesses run by LGBTQ+ people, read their publications, support their artists. Simple things that really do help.
VOTE VOTE VOTE - Obvious, yes, but absolutely instrumental. Every legislative cycle in many states, and yes I’m pointing right at you Montana you piece of shit, new laws and bills come up all introduced by the ignorant assholes that got voted in by members of your community. STOP THIS NONSENSE. Vote, always vote, for those that are supportive and inclusive of LGTBQ+ communities and initiatives. Vote OUT the morons who still fight against love.
Support ALL Identities - Never limit your support for just one identity, support them all. There’s a reason the rainbow is the official symbol of Pride, and it’s because sexuality is indeed a spectrum, it’s our job to spread the love equally across all of them.
Teach Your Children Well - If you take a peek at the photos above, you’ll notice that in both the photos, the kids are participating just as loudly as the adults. What we teach our children will become what they teach theirs, and if we do it right long enough, eventually the dark period of history where LGBTQ+ love was not supported, will be an embarrassing thing of the past. Show your children that love is love, that there are a million different ways to love, and that all should be celebrated.
There are a million more ways to help, a million more things we can be doing. One of the only things in my entire life I’ve ever been out-loud-proud of, is the helping of my friends, Krysti and Sabrina, a lesbian-couple I am so lucky to love, have two beautiful children. By donating sperm to them, they were able to choose the family they created, on their terms, just like any other heterosexual couple can do automatically. Today, they have Elliot and Salem to show for their love, two perfect and beautiful children that are loved by so many people it’s silly.
There is always a chance (though the chance in this beautiful community is slim) where the things I write will ruffle some feathers, will drive some away from here. Should that be the case, I’m sorry. Not for me, not for these words, not for my belief or support or allyship, I’m sorry for you, I’m sorry you don’t see it yet, I’m sorry you don’t stand on the right side of the wide waters that make history. One day, I hope you’ll find your way, and if it’s not today, not this day, I’ll just say this:
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Stand up. Be proud. Fight. It’s time.
Words are not enough,
we must do more and be more,
for those that need us.