5 Ways to Support LGBTQ Rights
As June comes to a close, so does the Pride Parade season. After the crowds disperse, the bottles are picked up and the rainbow (and or neon) pieces of clothing are put away, what are we left with? Most likely, a pretty brutal hangover, an Instagram feed of epic photos and memories to last a lifetime. But what's even more important, is the progress the LGBTQ community (and their allies) have made — despite the setbacks.
Whether you're an active or new supporter of equal rights for same-sex couples — the LGBTQ community is grateful for you. While progress has been made, there's always more that can be done. These are five simple ways that you can help support your friends and family of the LGBTQ community:
Be the absolute best ally you can be
It may sound like a facepalm "DUH", but it's worth being mentioned. It's likely that you have a friend, colleague, classmate, or family member that identifies as queer — but even if that's not the case, put yourself in their shoes. While being gay is generally becoming more accepted, there are still many that disapprove or have hatred in their hearts for LGBTQ individuals. This post will help make sure that you're being the best ally out there.
Volunteer your time
Many cities have an LGBT center that helps support those in the community. Centers like these often run off of the manpower from volunteers. Administrative support, event-planning and marketing services are often needed to keep the ship running smoothly. Beyond roles like these, counseling services, job-seeking and placement coordinators and translator services are common to help those in need.
Speak out against bullying and unfair treatment
Unfortunately, derogatory words for queer individuals are a dime-a-dozen. Your support in deterring violence and hate speech means the world to the LGBTQ community. Without getting into a physical brawl, (violence is never the answer, fish are friends not food, remember?) try to shed light or offer some perspective on the inflammatory speech. Alternatively, you can write a letter to different government offices asking for their assistance. Although it's true that even adults can be bullied — consider kids and young adults that have either come out, or wish they could in schools across the nation
Help change the conversation — educate your peers
While I've used the word progress numerous times, it's important to note that there's still at least a few battles that remain before same-sex couples become one-hundred percent included in society. It's still possible that there are people in this country (and the world) that are uneducated about homosexuality and the struggles the LGBTQ community face. Take a moment to enlighten these folks on some of the civil issues — all the while being considerate of their upbringing or personal background. We need to be cognizant that this may be new for some people — and they shouldn't be judged for not knowing any differently.
Donate to the many organizations that benefit the LGBTQ community
There are numerous organizations set up to assist community members that need assistance. Any dollar amount is helpful in impacting the lives of those all around the world. To some, the people they've encountered in these organizations are the closest thing to family that they have. Do a little homework and find an organization that speaks to you before donating. To get started on your research, check out these three that benefit a range of LGBTQ individuals:
Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
The LGBTQ Youth Space is a community drop-in center and mental health program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults ages 13-25.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.
There's not a doubt in my mind that you're doing a great job in supporting the LGBTQ community. I ask that you consider the five ways to further that support above and challenge yourself to do more. Together, we can make the world a more beautiful (and safe) place for all.