Allyship to the queer community is so important, especially in an age when LGBTQ+ folks are constantly being attacked–not just socially, but also politically and legally. I’m so excited that you’re here to learn how to be a better ally.
In summary, there is no such thing allyship is not quiet. It does not bystand while others are bullied and experience discrimination. Allyship is loud. It is active. That is, if you are not actively protecting us as trans and queer folks, we are complicit in our oppression. Hate is more insidious than you might notice. Hate is taught and affirmed through our silence and inaction. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SILENT ALLY. Let’s dive in.
STEPS TO BEING A GOOD ALLY:
① GENDER & NAME PEOPLE CORRECTLY
Use the individual’s name and pronouns correctly. Gendering and naming someone correctly is the fastest, simplest, and probably most powerful way to say: “I see you. I support you.”
If you mess up, I always recommend apologizing immediately and quickly, correcting yourself, and moving on. Do not make the mistake about you. Do not make a big deal. Correct & move on.
Check out this page for more on working with pronouns.
② CORRECT OTHER PEOPLE
If someone is misgendered or misnamed by other people, correct them, even if the person getting misgendered isn’t in the room or you don’t know them personally.
NOTE: Be careful not to out folks. They might use different pronouns in different scenarios. Make sure you’re aware of where they use which pronouns because they might not be out in all places.
③ EDUCATE YOURSELF: YOUR QUEER FRIEND IS NOT YOUR QUEER DICTIONARY. USE RESOURCES LIKE THIS INSTEAD.
Recognize it is not on the LGBTQ+ person to educate you on everything LGBTQ+. That is your responsibility.
Visit the following webpages to learn about trans related topics:
- Appropriate terminology (start here!)
- What is transitioning?
- Tips on coming out
- Resources for parents of trans kids (for both the parents and the kids)
- More FAQs
Follow trans folks on your social media channels and learn from them. If you read or see something that you disagree with or that makes you feel something, ask yourself why. Consider what is coming up for you–if the content angers, frustrates, or upsets you, why? Does the content threaten something within you? Know that this discomfort is okay. Welcome it. Dive into it. Here are some suggestions of folks to follow: Indya Moore (they/them), Ashlee Marie Preston (she/her), Alok Menon (they/them), Munroe Bergdorf (she/they), Mila Jam (she/her), Leo Sheng (he/him), and Wednesday Holmes (they/them).
④ EDUCATE OTHERS
Remember there is no such thing as a passive ally.
Correct people when they misgender trans folks; engage in conversations when people exhibit bigoted behavior, and stand up for queer folks, even when they’re not around.
Always call in > call out.
Value conversation over confrontation.
Know that small actions are still valuable.
You don’t have to speak in front of thousands or have a large social media platform to be a good ally. Smaller actions like gendering or naming someone correctly can also be powerful.
⑤ REMEMBER THAT LOVE > UNDERSTANDING
You don’t have to understand everything about someone to love someone or walk through a journey with them.
I encourage you to consider this analogy: I don’t understand multivariable calculus; I never have and never will. But that doesn’t make multivariable calculus nonexistent, its theorems any less proved, or the people who study it any less valid. It just means I don’t get it. Being transgender is far less complicated than calculus in my opinion, but you still don’t have to understand everything about a trans person to love, support, and stand by them.
⑥ ACCEPT REJECTION
If someone declines to answer you or doesn’t want to engage, apologize and then LET THEM BE.
NOTE: Expecting a queer person to educate you constantly puts 100% of the onus on them, which is inappropriate and unkind. If they invite you to ask questions, do so respectfully, but if they decline to answer or anger, please be respectful and remember that it is not their responsibility to educate you.
⑦ SET BOUNDARIES
If you are attempting to converse with someone who is exhibiting hatefulness or bigoted behavior and are clearly not listening or indicating any intent to learn, set boundaries. Boundaries can be physical (leaving the room), they can be technological (blocking, deleting, unfriending), and they can be contextual (refusing to discuss certain topics).
A post on this–
View this post on Instagram
Allies have been absolutely crucial to my survival. And these allies have always stood tall and proud in their allyship—because there is no such thing as an innocent bystander. That is, if you are not actively protecting your LGBTQ+ siblings, you are complicit in their oppression. Hate is more insidious than you might notice. Hate is taught and affirmed through our silence and inaction. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander or a silent, inactive ally. Allyship is loud. Swipe through the slides to learn more. Super stoked about this collaboration with @sander_54. His support for his sister @jazzjennings_ has brought tears to my eyes repeatedly over the years; I feel his love for his sister as healing to my own experience. If you’d like to join us, hop over to the link in my bio to download a printable version of sign, the slides, and some caption suggestions. If you post & tag me I’ll be sure to like & maybe even repost to my story ❤️ — NOTE: #ALLYSHIPISLOUD does NOT mean speaking over or for the LGBTQ+ community. It means proudly claiming your allyship wherever you are and not shying away from being outed as an ally. Most often, allyship means not speaking for LGBTQ+ folks, but rather, passing us the mic. Actions like these speak volumes.
View this post on Instagram
Allyship is not quiet. It does not bystand. It is loud. It is active. Today the LGBTQ+ continues to face oppression, hate, and discrimination. According to the @trevorproject, 1 in 3 youth report they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ+ identity. The constant struggle faced by the community makes it more essential than ever for more allyship. You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ to stick up and use your voice to amplify the voices of people who are LGBTQ+. If you would like to learn more about being an ally then swipe through the slides and go to the YouTube link in my bio. — Thanks, @pinkmantaray, for working with me on this awesome collaboration! Your educational posts each day continue to teach and inspire me. — If you’d like to join us in sharing this message, hop over to my story or Schuyler’s link in bio to download a printable version of this sign! If you tag me and use the hashtag #ALLYSHIPISLOUD, I’ll be sure to like & maybe even repost to my story ❤️ #Allyshipisloud #SpreadLove #Unity #AllyToAll #Ally — NOTE: #allyshipisloud does NOT mean speaking over or for the LGBTQ+ community. It means proudly claiming your allyship wherever you are and not shying away from being outed as an ally. Most often, allyship means not speaking for LGBTQ+ folks, but rather, passing the mic to them.