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Rosie Mussen
Rosie Mussen 30 June 2022

5 ways to be a better LGBTQ+ ally this Pride month (and always)

How to create an inclusive work environment where everyone can be themselves.

Rosie Mussen
Rosie Mussen 30 June 2022

How to create an inclusive work environment where everyone can be themselves.

If you believe in equality for the LGBTQ+ community, you’re already on your way to allyship. But it’s important to know that being an LGBTQ+ ally isn’t just a label. It’s active, continued behaviour – and a commitment to the community.

There are lots of simple things you can do to be more engaged, from empowering marginalised voices to challenging discrimination. Here's a few tips for getting started.

Know Pride is not just a party

Understanding the origin of Pride is crucial. It’s a protest. Pride began as an annual event following the Stonewall rebellion in New York in 1959. At the time, police had the authority to arrest people for ‘committing homosexual acts’ and were doing so – constantly. But when they raided The Stonewall Inn, a well-known bar for LGBTQ+ people, patrons and onlookers fought back in an uprising that spanned six days.

While there are extensive debates about who exactly threw the first brick at the riots, it’s important to recognise that black, transgender women and lesbians played a particularly big part in the rebellion which became the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement we celebrate each June. It’s worth remembering next time you see or wave a rainbow flag.

Educate yourself

Emphasis on yourself! You might know people in the community who are happy to spend time explaining their lived experiences to you. But remember, it’s not their responsibility to do so.

Treating an individual as an oracle for all things LGBTQ+ is unfair and unhelpful. Instead, explore different resources such as the Stonewall website to do your own research. 

Show support

Getting involved with LGBTQ+ charities makes it quick and easy to find opportunities to take action, from volunteering in the community to writing to your local politician about specific issues.

Mermaids, the LGBT Foundation, Gendered Intelligence and MindOut are just some of the UK-based charities committed to supporting the community. Time as well as financial commitments make a big difference.

Speak up

If you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you’re part of the majority. Acknowledgement and awareness to understand how and when you can help the minority is a critical part of being an ally. Where you feel safe to do so, challenging problematic comments, ‘jokes’ and misconceptions can make a real difference.

Understand pronouns

Pronouns are the words we use to refer to someone’s gender in conversation. She/her and he/him are common examples, and some people prefer gender neutral pronouns such as they/them.

Respecting pronouns is a simple gesture that can help many trans and non-binary members of the LGBTQ+ community feel recognised. Don’t assume you know what someone’s pronouns are – after all, you wouldn’t want someone to incorrectly assume your gender, right?

The easiest way to find out which pronouns someone uses is to politely ask them. And if you find yourself accidentally using the wrong pronouns, simply apologise, correct yourself and move on. Similarly, if you hear someone referring to somebody using the wrong pronouns, politely correct them. Even if the person in question isn’t present.

Remember – if you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, making people aware of your pronouns (when introducing yourself or in your email signature, for example) is a great show of allyship. And if you’re feeling reluctant to do so, it might be worth taking some time to ask yourself why.

This is a simple introduction, and there’s so much more you can do to learn more about LGBTQ+ allyship. The LGBT Foundation’s website is full of helpful resources. At Indicia Worldwide, we’re committed to diversity and inclusivity – you can read more about our culture and our values here.

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