It’s Pride Month again! And as June kicks off, those who are cisgender (which means you identify with the gender you’re assigned with at birth) and straight people need to remember what a real ally looks like. There’s a lot that goes into being a good ally, but these reminders are just some nonnegotiable basics to start with:
Use the right names and pronouns
You can’t be an ally if you’re misgendering people or invalidating their identity by calling them the wrong pronouns or their deadnames (which are birth or former names the person no longer wishes to be called.) And if you catch yourself doing so accidentally – whether out loud or in your head, whether in their presence or not – then you need to make more of an effort to remember and normalize their pronouns and chosen names. (However, if you know they’re not out to everyone, also make sure to ask when it’s safe to use them!)
Don’t out them to other people
While this may be obvious, this also means that you need to stop assuming that, just because they’re out to you, they’re out to everybody. Never mention a queer person’s sexual orientation or gender identity unless you know for a fact that they have publicly come out or are out to the person you’re speaking to.
Don’t pressure anyone to come out either
Being a support system for people who are planning to come out is a great way to be an ally. However, if they don’t plan to do so, then respect that decision. Not everyone feels safe enough to come out yet or ever. And even if they are safe to do so, those who choose not to come out because they simply don’t want to are completely valid too.
Acknowledge LGBTQ+ struggles
Pride will always be political; just because the LGBTQ+ movement has come a long way, doesn’t mean that the community is no longer oppressed. There’s still a long way to go, especially in a country like the Philippines, when it comes to giving the LGBTQ+ community equal rights. So, as an ally, it’s important to recognize these struggles so that you can learn to not only celebrate queer people but also stand against the injustices that harm the community.
Yes, learning about the different sexual orientations and gender identities is a start. But you should also make an effort to understand the different issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces, expose yourself to more diverse art and media, and unlearn your own prejudices and misconceptions about queer people. There are tons of resources by LQBTQ+ people on the internet about these things, so make an effort to educate yourself instead of only relying on your queer friends to explain them to you.
Listen to and amplify the LGBTQ+ voices
Don’t stop voicing out where you stand on LGBTQ+ issues, but always make sure that you are not speaking for or over your peers who are part of the community. While it’s important to take a stand, you should also prioritize listening to and drawing more attention to their voices when they do speak out about it.
Be an ally all-year-round
At the end of the day, being a good ally doesn’t matter unless you’re willing to support and fight for the LGBTQ+ community no matter what time of the year it is. So, when June ends, make sure you’re still the ally that queer people can be and feel safe around.