Beyond June: Being A Better Ally


prideYear after year, June comes, and suddenly corporations are invested in Pride Month, thus presenting themselves as an Ally. There are rainbows in stores, commercials featuring our LGBTQIA+ community, and this sense of allyship moves some people to support the community at large. What happens after the parades end and the rainbows return behind the clouds? How do we, as heterosexual-identifying humans, strengthen the ways we defend and stand by those who celebrate Pride Month?

We start by being a better ally.

For as long as I can remember, I have stood by my friends who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community -whether they were publicly out or still closeted. I proudly wear all the support items year-round, post call-to-action items on social media while burning up lawmakers’ contact buttons, and make sure the people in my life know where I stand. But, in spite of all the work I put forth, there are ways even I can be a better Ally. I’d love to share them with you in hopes that together we can continue advocating and solidifying the groundwork already laid.

Educate Ourselves on the Issues

Indiana is a mess when it comes to being an ally state. Piece after piece of legislation seeks to not only strip LGBTQIA+ persons of basic human rights but also seek to erase them completely. Bills introduced in Indiana and then signed are forcing our trans community to stop gender-affirming care and prohibit seeking it to begin with. Drag shows are under attack, and businesses that support this community are also attacked. ACLU Indiana has a great Bill Tracking tool as well as resources on how to get involved. We have to educate ourselves on not only the bills being introduced and eventually signed into law but the lawmakers that are on either side of the issue as well. We cannot allow individuals and organizations to claim Allyship in June but then be anti-LGBTQIA+ for the rest of the year.

Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The conversations that I have the privilege of having in support of the LGBTQIA+ community are not easy, nor are they comfortable. In being a better ally, we have the distinct responsibility of showing up and injecting facts into the discussion. There is deep, deep-rooted bigotry and hatred towards members of the community; often, these attacks are not based in fact but rather on the attacker’s personal belief or faith. These are not easy discussions, but as an ally, I can have them and know that I am safer in this situation than a person identifying as LGBTQIA+. You have to be comfortable in the ickiness, in the conversations that make you want to run or be angry. Being angry in response to the treatment of those you defend and support is valid and warranted, but we have to move those feelings into action.

Go Beyond Corporate Rainbows

Show your support every day, not just when corporations say that it is Pride Month. Every day, major corporations implement policies that impact LBGTQIA+ people, and often, those implementations impact them negatively. Being an Ally goes beyond the month of June. Buy your Pride merchandise from small, Queer-owned businesses if you can (and even support those businesses outside of June!). Indy has some amazing options, and there are so many online that could benefit from the love as well.

Teach Our Kids That Everyone Is Human

My husband and I want our kids to be exposed to all walks of life because we are all human. We don’t shy away from drag, from Pride celebrations, or from making sure our kids know that we love them, no matter what. At the end of the day, every single person is a human being, and they are entitled to the same protections, liberties, and life that anyone else has. It does not matter who you love, how you identify, or how you dress-you are human. We also teach our kids that pronouns and preferred names matter. If heterosexual and cis-gendered persons can be offended when their names are pronounced wrong, or the wrong name is used, then non-cis-gendered persons can too. Even the littlest of humans can be an ally.

Be Vocal, Be Loud, Be You

Attend rallies when lawmakers threaten the lives of LBGTQIA+ persons. Sign the petitions and share them on social media. Contact your elected officials in all the contact avenues. Support queer-owned businesses and spread their missions. Do not back down, do not yield. Show up for your friends and the larger community at events, on forums, and in ensuring you are seen as someone that the community can trust. Own who you are, even if you don’t know how to label yourself (and that’s okay!).

Being an ally is a constant evolution of action, thought, and partnership!