has advice on how to be an active bystander.
International Day of Friendship was created to show how friendship between people, countries and cultures can build bridges between communities.
Allies are people who try to use their influence to elevate the voices of underrepresented groups and help bring their struggles larger mainstream discussion.
This resource will provide information about how to be an ally to those in the LGBTQ+ community.
How to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community:
Coming out can be very daunting. Every person is unique, requiring different levels of support, so there is no one right way to be a good ally. That being said, here are some ways in which you can be a more supportive friend, family member or colleague to someone in the LGBTQ+ community.
Don’t expect those from marginalised backgrounds to take on the emotional burden of educating you about their community. One way to be a good ally is to take responsibility for educating yourself.
Take the time to of research LGBTQ+ topics and keep up to date on the current challenges being faced by the LGBTQ+ community. This could be as simple as following the stories of LGBTQ+ activists on social media, or reading recent news articles on LGBTQ+ publications such as GayTimes or PinkNews.
Learning more about the LGBTQ+ community will allow you to better support your friend and understand the unique challenges they may be experiencing.
Listen to what LGBTQ+ people are saying. If someone comes out to you, don’t interrupt or overwhelm them by asking lots of questions – they may not have all the answers to what you’re asking yet. It may be a good idea to save any questions for a later date. This can give you a chance to think about what’s important and ensure anything you do ask is done so in a sensitive manner.
Without taking the time to listen to the LGBTQ+ community first, you risk entering ‘saviour’ territory. This is when a person assumes they know more about a community and individuals that are part of it.
challenge and speak up against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
Be an active bystander. If you hear someone making homophobic, biphobic or transphobic comments and jokes, call them out. If you see someone being discriminated against, intervene and support them straight away, not just after the fact.
Respect the person’s privacy
An LGBTQ+ person should always be in control of who they come out to, when they come out and how they come out.
Coming out takes a lot of courage. Just because someone has made the decision to come out to you, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to tell everybody just yet. There’s no need to share this information with anyone else unless the person who came out specifically asks you too.
Be there to offer support and reassurance
Many people find rejection to be one of the hardest parts of coming out. Make sure you’re there to reassure your friend that them coming out won’t change your friendship.
It’s also important to be there to offer support, this could be as simple as thanking your friend for having the courage to come out to you, or offering to be there when they come out to other friends or family.
Accept that you may get things wrong – and that’s okay!
One of the most important parts of being a good ally is being open to constructive criticism and feedback.
Terminology used within the LGBTQ+ community is constantly evolving. Terms that may have been deemed ‘okay’ to use 5 years ago may not be now. Mistakes may happen, but you need to remain open and receptive to feedback, as well as actively make an effort to improve in the future.
Be aware of unconscious bias and check your privilege
Being aware of your privilege is an important step in creating better interactions with others. Take a moment to think about how systems and biases work in your favour each day. Once you’ve acknowledged this, you can start to think about how you can use your own privilege to help those who don’t benefit from it.
It’s also important to recognise your unconscious bias. Everyone has one – whether you’re aware of it or not, but it’s something worth challenging in everyday life. For example, don’t assume that everyone you meet is straight and/or cisgender as a default. Avoid using gendered language and strive to be inclusive in everyday interactions. Instead of asking someone about their girlfriend/boyfriend for example, ask about their partner.
Put your pronouns in email signatures and/or social media profiles
Making your pronouns visible online shows that you recognise the importance of pronouns to many LGBTQ+ people.
Practice allyship all year round
It’s great to openly express allyship during pride month and other days of visibility, but it’s important to remember that LGBTQ+ people face discrimination and stigma all year round.
Make sure your allyship extends beyond pride month, into every day life and throughout the entire year.
In the work place, having pronouns in your email signature may allow others to feel safer when sharing their own pronouns. That being said, it’s also important to remember that some LGBTQ+ people might not be comfortable sharing their pronouns – and that’s okay too.
Your friend coming out shouldn’t change your relationship or the way you interact with one another.
Don’t allow your friend to become isolated or feel alone. If you and your friend have a weekly routine of meeting up or calling each other on a certain day, continue that. Coming out can be a big life change, and continuing with a familiar routine can be comforting.