Each June we spend time celebrating and honoring the LGBTQIA+ community, but that doesn’t mean the support should stop after Pride month. Yes, attending the parades and parties is great, but when there is an alarming rate of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, violence against the trans community (especially Black trans women) and youth homelessness, it’s crucial now more than ever to show up as an ally or member of the community. So, whether you’re donating to a non-profit organization or educating yourself on queer issues, here are seven ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community now and forever.
8 Ways to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community During Pride Month and Beyond
The easiest (and quickest) way to support the LGBTQIA+ community is by donating. Consider $1, $10, $100 or even a recurring donation to organizations, funds and/or businesses that are committed to helping. Here are a few places where you can contribute to ongoing research, resources and opportunities:
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project offers legal services to low-income and BIPOC individuals who are transgender, intersex or gender non-conforming.
- The Trevor Project provides resources and support to LGBTQIA+ young people with 24/7 counselors to call, text or online chat.
- The Ali Forney Center is committed to fighting against LGBTQIA+ youth homelessness with housing, health services and job training programs.
- Out & Equal focuses on LGBTQIA+ workplace equality through programs, Fortune 500 partnerships and resources for jobs to be inclusive for all.
- Trans Lifeline connects the trans community with a hotline, microgrant opportunities and resources like ID change, healthcare and legal support.
- Equality Texas combats discriminatory policies in Texas (a state where more than 30 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been filed targeting trans and non-binary youth).
2. Raise Awareness
Use your platform to speak out on LGBTQIA+ issues and share resources. Social media is the prime spot for sharing and reposting information on everything from policies to organizations. It’s also a great tool to amplify voices within the community. Let your followers hear straight from the source who identifies as a member of the community and who’s connected closely to the cause. Just remember that raising awareness doesn’t mean pressuring others to share your stories or engage with your post (because there’s a huge difference between allyship and performative allyship).
3. Support LGBTQ+ Businesses
Speaking of performative allyship, big corporations are so quick to slap a rainbow on their products and social media profile photos during pride month to show their “support” before moving on to the next holiday once June is over. So, instead of spending money with those brands (and feeding into their marketing ploys), consider giving back to the community by spending your money with brands—like these beauty and fashion options—that are owned and operated by LGBTQIA+ individuals. Here are a few you should check out:
- Brandon Blackwood is a fashion brand that specializes in handbags and accessories.
- Automic Gold is a fine jewelry brand making wearable pieces for everyone, regardless of gender.
- TomboyX is a fashion company that offers intimates, swimwear and activewear for all genders and sizes up to 6x.
- Fluide is a beauty brand that makes makeup accessible for all.
4. Consume More LGBTQIA+ Content
While there’s been an increase in LGBTQIA+ representation in pop culture, queer series' regular characters still make up only about 12 percent, according to GLAAD. So, spend time supporting TV shows with LGBTQIA+ leads or check out movies that positively represent the community. Even grab a summer read written by an LGBTQIA+ author or jam out to the latest music by your favorite queer artist. You don’t have to be a part of a specific group to enjoy a great story. And if you have a kiddo, pick up a bedtime story that’s rooted in inclusivity and acceptance like Julián Is a Mermaid, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag and Mommy, Mama and Me.
Whether it’s in-person or virtually, dedicate yourself to volunteering. First, scout your local area for volunteer opportunities. Orgs like the Human Rights Campaign have more than 30 committees across the country that educate folks on LGBTQIA+ issues, build relationships with local businesses and raise money. There are also other ways to do some good right at home. The Trevor Project welcomes and trains volunteers, giving you the opportunity to can become a crisis support counselor remotely and speak with LGBTQIA+ teens who might be struggling with their mental health.
6. Create a Safe Space
There should be no room for discrimination and/or harassment based on your gender or sexual orientation in any environment. If you’re straight, use your privilege to demand inclusive changes, speak out against wrongdoings and overall be a support system when needed. In a workplace setting, it can be as simple as introducing resource groups for LGBTQIA+ employees, advocating for gender-free restrooms or even adding your pronouns to your email signature. At home, it can mean dismantling gender stereotypes, using a “safe folder” that protects your child’s gender identity or learning how to be there for someone that just came out. At the end of the day, you want to offer a safe space where people are able to be 100 percent themselves.
7. Educate Yourself
There are so many resources that can guide you to becoming more aware of the world around you. Learn about pronouns, sexual orientations or gender identity terms. Brush up on some queer history from books like The Queer Bible: Essays and documentaries like Paris is Burning and The State of Marriage. It’s all about staying informed and doing the research on not only the struggles but the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community.
8. Start an Open Dialogue
As you educate yourself on terms, people and policies, begin to have these conversations with your friends, family and coworkers. Consider diving into topics of gender, sexual orientation and even harmful languages and stereotypes with people in your life who might not be as informed as you are, and use this open dialogue as a way to learn and grow as an ally. As mentioned, use your privilege to take a stand against bigotry. Don’t be afraid to call someone out on misgendering an individual, using distasteful slurs as “jokes” or doubling down on anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric.
One last thing to remember is you should never make someone in the LGBTQIA+ community feel obligated to teach you about these issues, terms or history. It’s not their job to educate you and share their experiences. It’s also never OK to question or make assumptions about someone's identity. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sexuality and/or gender expression. Basically, it’s about listening, reflecting and making a conscious effort to support the people around you.