How to be an LGBTQ Ally

by 26Health Staff

I could sit here and give you a list of 10 ways to be an ally… I still might, I haven’t decided yet but check back with me at the end of the article. I am here to talk about being an ally and the core of what I think it means and how you can serve as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

For those of you that don’t know me, HI! My name is Brittani Acuff and I am the Community Relations and Events Manager for 26Health, but as much as I love my job, I love being an ally more.

To me, being an ally should come second nature to people. Based on what I believe, equality for all should be a thing. Unfortunately looking at the bigger picture and the current world we live in that is not the case. But don’t let that deter you. It just means that allies need to be more present for the minority populations in our lives.

So how do we do that? How do we help?

First, we need to listen. It is important to understand while allies have opinions, we are an LGBTQ ally, we are not a direct member of the community we want to help.  Think about it this way, you’re an expert chef. You studied at schools all over the world, won a Michelin Star, and have numerous successful kitchens. Then all of the sudden a fresh out of hair school, hairstylists start telling you how to run your business and give their opinion when it wasn’t asked. You’d be mad right? So why would you do that to a community you’re not a part of.  I promise you, by listening you will learn so much and be so glad you did.

Next, always ask, “how can I help?’ Their answers could range from “would you come to pride with me” to “no one else knows I’m gay but you, thank you for being my safe space.” You never know to what degree you might be needed to help. You might even find out that you want to get involved with volunteering at LGBTQ+ organizations. So many organizations need volunteers and will accept you with open arms.

One of the best ways to help is to educate yourself and learn your history or herstory in some cases. People hear “the first pride was a riot” but don’t know that two trans women of color lead the way into the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. Or they might not know that in many countries it is still illegal to be gay. You also may learn that even in the United States, you can be fired from your job for just loving who you love.  Education is key to being an ally.

Sadly, we’ve reached the end of the column, and I did sort of giving you a list. Just remember being an LGBTQ ally is more than just yelling “YAS QUEEN” or “YOU BETTER WERK” when your GBF looks fierce. Which there is nothing wrong with, but try to dig a little deeper and see how you can become the best ally you can be. If you want more information on how to get involved and be an ally, please reach out to me at brittani@26health.org.

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