More tips to be a better ally to your LGBTQ friends
What an incredible victory for the LGBTQ community this Pride month: This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace.
Our partners — and CREDO grantees — at the ACLU successfully represented both Aimee Stephens, who was fired by her employer for coming out as a transgender woman, and Don Zarda, a skydiving instructor who was fired for being gay.
The ACLU has been a long-time ally of the LGBTQ community, fighting for their rights in and out of court for equality, justice and freedom of expression and association.
But what does it really mean to be an ally, and how can we all be better allies to our LGBTQ friends and family? This Pride month, we wanted to add to our blog post from earlier this year with a few more tips and resources to be a better ally.
Understanding what an ally is not
To understand what being an ally is, it’s good to also understand what being an ally is not. Being an ally is not just simply changing your social media profile photo, posting a meme to Facebook or Instagram about LGBTQ rights or jumping on a trending hashtag. If you’re a small business owner or a big corporation, it’s not slapping a rainbow flag on your logo for the month of June or issuing a statement of support once a year (Here’s why CREDO doesn’t change our logo for Pride).
In other words, performative allyship — “passive displays of support focused on one’s self rather than the community in question” — is typically not helpful and can even be dangerous. Although it’s most likely well-intended, it’s critically important to find different and more constructive ways to be an ally. As columnist Eric Peterson put it, “The performatively woke person takes up a lot of space. The ally makes space. It’s a crucial difference.”
An ally is someone who uses their position of privilege in a non-marginalized group (here, that can refer to white cisgender people) to advocate for those in a marginalized group. Not someone who uses allyship to pat themselves on the back or posts to social media for validation.
Open your wallet & offer financial support
One of the best ways to be a true ally and advocate for the LGBTQ community is by donating financial support, either directly to LGBTQ people or organizations advocating on their behalf. Surveys have shown that LGBTQ people, on average, face enormous wage gaps and earn less than their straight and cisgender counterparts, due to a wide range of factors including systemic discrimination, workplace harassment and extreme poverty. Within the LGBTQ community, according to our allies at the National LGBTQ Task Force, women in same-sex couples earn significantly less than men in same-sex couples, and transgender people are four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000 a year.
Hashtags like #TransCrowdFund can help plug you into ways to directly donate, or you can make charitable gifts to CREDO-backed organizations like the Task Force, ACLU, Transgender Law Center, or the Trevor Project.
(For more than 30 years, CREDO has donated over $6 million to progressive groups fighting for LGBTQ rights. If you’d like to support these groups simply by using your mobile device, consider switching to CREDO Mobile.)
Be a Trans Ally
Transgender and gender nonconforming people have been subject to particularly harsh discrimination and violence, especially against Black transgender people. Just since the start of 2020, at least 14 Black trans and gender non-conforming people have been murdered which has sparked Black Trans Lives Matter protests after the murders of Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells of Philadelphia and Riah Milton of Cincinnati last week.
Our friends at the ACLU have put together a quick video with three ways to be a trans ally, which include knowing the terminology, recognizing the humanity and knowing the issues.
The above list is by no means comprehensive. CREDO and many other organizations have compiled other ways to be a better LGBTQ ally. Here are some links for additional reading:
- Read our CREDO Tip from this February on being a better LGTBQ ally
- 10 Ways to Be an Ally & a Friend from GLAAD
- How to Support LGBTQ Youth from Lambda Legal
- What is intersectionality, and what does it have to do with me? from YW Boston
- Undocumented, Queer and Allyship from Williams College