How to be a better Ally?
What exactly does it mean to be an Ally?
An ally or a straight ally is a heterosexual person who actively supports the LGBTQIA+ community and lifts the queer community up.
Understanding and acknowledging what the LGBTQIA+ community is, their struggles and strengths is the first and most important step towards allyship. As an ally it is important to acknowledge their struggles, celebrate their triumphs and amplify their strengths.
Coming from a heteronormative society such as ours, being an ally can bring upon a lot of confrontation and uneasy conversations that you might not always be comfortable with, but there are still some things you can do.
- Listen – This is perhaps the simplest, yet the most impactful thing an ally can do. Lending an ear to anyone who wants one. Being non-judgemental while listening and being a confidant is something that goes a long way. Understand what a queer person is tryin to say, believe in them and their struggles and validate them.
- Educate yourself – Read up on what it means to be queer. Try to inform yourself of the current political climates and the history of pride. Understand the different pronouns people use and the subsequent identities they associate themselves with. Instead of asking every queer person you come across about the community, gain knowlegde so that you stand by them whenever needed.
- Show up – Even though it might not be the easiest thing to do, try to show up when your queer friends need you. Be it showing support at a pride parade, or solidarity when they stand up for themselves, or even something as simple as forwarding supportive messages on chat groups, a mere show of self goes a long way to let the person know that they are not alone.
- Acknowledge your privilege – Understanding our position of power and privilege goes a long way in empathising with the problems of the community. Reflecting on everything that comes easy to us, but might not to a queer person is a humbling experience. Realising how uncomplicated you have it and starting conversations around the same ends up being extremely helpful.
- Be respectful – While conversing with a queer person, be mindful of them. Use the correct pronouns and ask permission before talking about their sexul orientation to a third person. Invalidating their struggles, or questioning their problems can end up being extremely hurtful.
Fighting our own prejudices, and systemic stereotypes is never easy. But sometimes taking the smallest step in the right direction can end up being the biggest one. So be aware, and be a vocal ally.
About the Author
Prishita is a recent graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She majored in Psychology and was an honors student. She is working on getting her master’s in Industrial Psychology. She has worked on multiple research papers and articles throughout her undergraduate career and worked with content creation companies.