My name is Eleonore, and I’m a 22 year-old lifestyle blogger. I write on my blog simplyeleonore.home.blog about a variety of topics, like veganism, feminism, mental health and anything LGBTQ+ related.
I usually write about my own experience, as a bisexual woman, but for this guest post I wanted to write something that could help non LGBTQ+ members understand how they can easily help and support the community as an ally. I hope you find this simple guide helpful!
Here are some key words to better understanding this post, in case you’ve never come across them before:
Heteronormative: to promote heterosexuality as the norm and/or preferred sexual orientation
Queer: umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities which are not heterosexual or cisgender
Cisgender: person who identifies as the gender that was assigned to them at birth. The opposite of transgender
So now, let’s get straight to it!
You can go to Pride
Not everyone has the same opinion regarding non LGBTQ+ members attending Pride, but I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s thanks to your support that different sexualities and genders will be normalised, accepted and celebrated, so if you want to show your support at Pride, please do! You can go by yourself or with friends, in any case it should be a fun experience for you. It’s just important to remember that you are there to show your support, and that despite having loads of fun, the party is not for you.
Don’t force someone to come out
It seems like an obvious statement said like this, but we don’t realise how a simple comment or question can be extremely distressing for someone who has not come out yet, and worse, who hasn’t accepted themselves. There is usually a lot of shame that comes with realising you don’t fit the ideal heteronormative cisgender world, and it takes time to accept it and feel confident about it. You might know some people who are very obviously gay for example, but if it’s not something you’ve ever heard them talk about or admit, don’t openly state that it’s no secret they’re gay. It can be humiliating for them if they don’t feel comfortable with who they are. If it’s a close friend or family member of yours, you could try asking in a safe, private space, or just state that you’ll love and care for them no matter who they are and who they love. It’ll make them feel supported and it will be easier for them to then come forward and talk about it in their own time.
Don’t out someone
This is more or less similar to what I’ve just explained, but it’s worth mentioning as well. We tend to want to know all about the juicy details of people’s lives, but when it comes to someone’s sexuality and gender, please don’t treat it as another rumour or piece of gossip. You’re dealing with something very serious that can lead to severe bullying if the information is given to the wrong people, so please keep these things to yourself or share it only with very close, accepting friends. If someone confides in you and comes out to you, respect them and don’t go and spill the beans two days later to all your classmates. As previously mentioned, we often feel shame or guilt for being who we are, and we don’t need people staring at us or asking inappropriate questions on top of that.
Don’t use queer words as an insult
Language is something that seems so minor, but that is incredibly important when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t use queer words if it’s to describe something negative, like “that’s so gay”, “I’m not a faggot” or the widely used “no homo”. It might just be a joke to you, but if someone queer is among you and hasn’t come out yet, how do you think it’ll make them feel that you’re using their sexuality as a mockery and insult? Chances are they won’t feel comfortable enough to come out and will stay closeted for even longer.
Use the internet and get informed
There are so many different sexualities and genders that it can get quite confusing sometimes to remember what the definitions for all of them are. But that’s okay, and for that the internet is your friend. If you meet or hear of someone who identifies as something you are not familiar with, either ask a polite question about it or do some research. It’s not because you haven’t heard of it that it does not exist. If it’s a term that seems unusual to you, look it up and read about it or watch videos. Chances are you’ll find something with a detailed explanation and it’ll help you understand it more!
Here you have it, a few easy ways you can be an ally. I hope you found this useful, and if you can think of anything else, feel free to share in the comment section bellow!
Thank you for reading,
Lots of love,
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