There’s a viral tweet going around Twitter that says:
It might seem a funny at first until you realize that the statement does hold a bit of truth.
The origin of the Pride Month celebrations can be traced back to the Stonewall Riots of 1969. The LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City were fed up with being harassed by the NYPD which resulted in four nights of rioting. These riots are said to have been one of the catalysts for the gay rights movement in the United States.
Pride was and should always be rooted in activism, a thought which is oftentimes forgotten amidst the rainbow banners and colorful packaging that pop-up in storefronts and Instagram feeds when June arrives. Did you really need another rainbow tote in your life or did you just want to help out? At the end of the day, money going to LGBTQ+ communities and causes can only be a good thing, but buying another rainbow shirt/tote/umbrella/cookie/sock from a huge company that you’re going to use once a year can also be seen as slacktivism or a low-effort way of helping out.
Everything in life is made better with intention, purpose, and intent. So here are some ways that you can show support to the LGBTQ+ community that are long-term, active commitments to both yourself and the people you care about.
1. Educate Yourself
Members of the LGBTQ+ community often feel like the burden of educating the people in their lives falls on them. And although they may not voice their complaints, one way of showing that you care about them is by putting in the time and effort to understand them, and the issues and problems they may be facing. From different websites, to books, to Ted talks, and books, movies, and shows, the resources you need are more accessible now more than ever.
Making an effort to continue learning about different things is one of the best ways you can show your support to that person in your life, and it’s a good gift you can give yourself as well.
2. Know your privilege
People don’t often realize what advantages or disadvantages they have over the people in their lives. Taking stock of your privilege by using tests like this that Sam Killerman created is a way to see how much work still needs to be done when it comes to advocating for and protecting the members of the community.
At the end of the day we all just want to feel seen and heard. Listen to their stories, empathize with them, and acknowledge their struggles.
3. Use your privilege for those who can’t
What’s a better way to show your support than to show your friend or family member that you have their back? Members of the community often have the habit of policing themselves, their appearance, and their behaviour especially in spaces (both online and in real life) where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Use your voice and privilege to actively stand up for the community whenever you hear comments and slurs made against the community.
We all have that one friend or family member that may isn’t as understanding or accepting of LGBTQ+ people or issues as we’d like them to be. Speak up at those family dinners or reunions where people may say something offensive. Take the time to educate them, to have these hard conversations whenever you see fit. Don’t be afraid to bring your activism home even when it can get uncomfortable.
4. Be Inclusive
While we wait for sweeping legislative and societal changes that will make things more accessible for everyone, another way to show support to the LGBTQ+ community is to be mindful about being inclusive. This means helping provide access, opportunities and resources to people who may otherwise be excluded or discriminated against. Inclusivity can be practiced in big and small ways; from something as simple as asking someone about their preferred pronouns to prioritizing and actively seeking out LGBTQ+ individuals in the hiring process.
5. Let your money do the talking
Money talks - in over 6,500 different languages. Choosing to boycott businesses and organizations that don’t align with your values is another way you can show your support to the community. Do you research and look into the company, their hiring practices and whether or not they have anti-discrimination policies in place. You’d be surprised to see how many companies market towards the community everytime June comes around but a quick look at their internal policies shows that they’re not that supportive towards the community after all.
Do your research, find small businesses that are LGBTQ+ owned and run, and remember that celebrating Pride isn’t limited to the month of June!