Supporting LGBTTQ* Folks

There are four basic ways that you can support LGBTTQ* individuals, families, and communities:

1. Become aware

  • Acknowledge and be accountable to your privilege
  • Acknowledge that there are numerous sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions locally and globally
  • Identify your own LGBTTQ* fears, phobias, confusions, and discomforts
  • Think of gender identity and expression, as well as sexual orientation, like a galaxy (no two stars are identical) or like water (fluid)
  • When LGBTTQ* folks out themselves to you, they are inviting you to privileged information about themselves. Please respect this and know that their story is not yours to tell

2. Continue learning

  • Educate yourself about the issues and histories facing those with whom you want to be allied
  • Listen to as many LGBTTQ* folks and their experiences as possible. Do not expect those with whom you want to ally yourself with, to teach you
  • Take a gender studies course and/or LGBTTQ* awareness and support training
  • Read books and blogs
  • Watch films
  • Attend community events like Pride, remembrance and memorial events, Take Back the Night, etc.

3. Align yourself with social justice and empathy

  • Know that when someone chooses to use a specific bathroom, they have done so by assessing their safety first. It is not okay to tell someone that they are in the wrong bathroom or report them to security
  • Operate from a place of empathy, kindness, generosity, dignity, and love
  • Support the work those you are allying yourself
  • Whenever possible, allies turn the spotlight away from themselves and to the voices that are so often marginalized and ignored

 4. Take action

  • Know that oppression is constant. Those who are oppressed and marginalized in society do not get to take breaks. As an ally, you cannot retreat into your privilege if/when you don’t want to engage
  • Mirror the language people are using to describe themselves, their experience, and bodies
  • Stop using and interrupt homophobic, lesbophobic, biphobic, and transphobic behaviours such as slurs or jokes. Slurs like dyke, fag, tranny, that’s so gay, etc. are hurtful and come from a place of malice

You will make mistakes. Remain calm. Take a big breath, apologize, and be accountable to your mistake. Try again and don't give up.

Resources:

Dr. Corinne Mason, Brandon University
Jamie Utt, Every Day Feminism
Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous
Morgan Stirling, Rainbow Resource Centre
Rune Breckon, Winnipeg and Brandon Trans* Day of Remembrance