How Straight People Can Be Good Allies All Year Long
For straight people, Pride Month can be a great reminder about how to be a better ally and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ people in your life. But June shouldn’t be the only month you act as a straight ally for the LGBTQ+ community, either.
Jack and Jill Adult asked experts to share tips on how straight people can be a good ally at any point in the year.
Normalize Sharing Your Pronouns
Openly queer therapist Ashley Parks specializes in trauma therapy and gender-affirming therapy in North Carolina. Her advice? Share your pronouns as a straight, cis person. “Put your pronouns in your email signature and social media bios. As a straight and cisgender person, this helps normalize it as a practice so queer and trans folks aren’t outed or othered for it.”
When you share your pronouns on social media or in your email, you’re signaling to other people that you recognize people can have different pronouns than the ones they were assigned at birth. You’re also letting people know you’re more likely to respect their pronouns. Of course, that means when someone tells you their pronouns, you should use them, too.
Speak Up Against Hate
The Supreme Court recently ruled that the LGBTQ+ community is a protected class in the workplace. They cannot be fired because they’re gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, etc. But one court ruling doesn’t stop bigotry. Straight people need to speak out against hate when they see or hear it.
Chad Dion Lassiter, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission says, “Support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year by speaking out and addressing transphobia, homophobia, and all forms of xenophobia directed at this community.”
Educating yourself is the key to knowing how to speak up. Lassiter continues, “We need to listen and learn and reduce our judgmental lens. We must educate ourselves and various communities around hate crimes directed at this community.”
Help LGBTQ+ Peers and Businesses Thrive Financially
A big problem in the LGBTQ+ community, especially for Black people and other people of color, is a disparity in wages. Just like there’s a pay gap between men and women, there’s a definite pay gap between straight people and the LGBTQ+ community (on average). There are a few ways to be a good ally here.
Parks says, “If you work with queer or trans folks, share your salary information with them.” Corporate culture says not to tell other people how much you make, but that benefits your boss more than your co-workers. They can’t know they’re being underpaid if no one tells them. You can also push for a professional environment that focuses on transparency by making every position’s salary range public amongst employees.
Beyond that, there are other ways to help LGBTQ+ folks succeed financially. “Find and financially support your local queer and trans artists, business owners, and performers,” advises Parks. These business owners and artists may not receive the same attention and promotion as cis, straight people. By seeking out LGBTQ+ creators, you can directly support people which allows them to make more amazing things and continue to grow. At the same time, you also buy cool things and see cool art, so it’s a win for everyone.
Support LGBTQ+ Candidates
While there are plenty of things allies can do on an individual basis, the best way to be a good ally is to fight for systemic change. D. Gilson PhD, writer and educator, says, “As queer people, we, like most minority groups, have a lot of unique circumstances to consider. From finding the best places to live to wondering if our rights will be taken away or weakened by socially conservative politicians, it can be tiring.”
“Straight allies can help with the latter task, especially, however. By campaigning on behalf of, donating to, and finally voting for candidates who support LGBTQ+ issues and seek to extend rights and protections, allies can take an active part in our movement and demonstrate their care at the ballot box.”
Going to a Pride event (virtual or in-person) can be a fun way to celebrate Pride Month and show that you’re an ally. But it’s not enough. Considering the inequalities and problems people in the LGBTQ+ community continue to face, being a true ally all year will help bring about real change and equality for everyone.