By June 30, 2022 Community
When you have an emotional piece of news (good or bad), think of the first friend that comes to mind that you would want to tell. Your go to, your confidante, your bestie–your ally.
An ally is a concept that most are probably familiar with, in some form or another. On your favorite reality show, a handful of contestants band together in an alliance and a team; the hero and their gang of sidekicks (ahem, allies) going off on an adventure; superheroes calling upon their allies to fight the Big Bad and save the day. Someone you can rely on, trust, talk to, and call upon when you need support.
During last year's Pride month posts, we let you know that the A in LGBTQIA+ was for Asexual and Aromantic -- and that hasn't changed. But this year, we want to focus on a different A: Ally.
In the context of the LGBTQIA+ space, an ally is not so different. Being an ally is for everyone - it can encompass straight and cisgender identities, as well as those within the LGTBQIA+ community. Having allies is important. In order to change policies and continue to fight for the rights of our community, as well as the ability to be our whole and authentic selves in public spaces, it helps to have a bit of backup.
With Seattle Pride coming up this weekend, we must not forget all of the allies who have supported us along the way throughout history, and who will support us in the years to come. Even taking the smallest steps in behaviors can show your support and let your friends or peers know that you are honestly engaged with them. Whether you are a veteran ally, or not sure of the ways you can best show your support, here are a few areas to consider when wanting to be a well-rounded ally:
- Use of pronouns can be important, but even simply adding yours to things like an email signature can signal your support
- Create and foster social settings that are safe and inclusive for LGBTQIA, cisgender, and straight folks all together
- Listen, and speak honestly with your queer peers about their lives, loved ones, and issues they might be facing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Include their partners or significant others
- Support local queer owned businesses - Seattle has many!
- Be mindful of, and vote on, legislation and policies that might affect the LGBTQIA+ community, even if it does not directly affect you yourself
- Support, volunteer with, or donate to local and national organizations taking steps to promote a more inclusive future for all
What if you want to be an ally, but aren’t sure how to approach things? What if you aren’t sure how to respond to someone? Don’t worry– there are plenty of resources for how to be a supportive and authentic ally! For some solid advice, check out the Being an LGBTQ Ally guide from The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG’s website, or GLAAD’s website, which are more universal and accessible in their content. Are you wanting to be an ally, but may be struggling with how that fits in with your faith? Human Rights Campaign has some resources for you to check out here.
Want to be an ally on a more local level? We love that! There are a ton of queer owned businesses to check out, and local organizations that support the progression of the LGBTQIA+ community and its youth. Here are a few Seattle/PNW groups to consider:
Gay City is an established local organization in Capitol Hill that offers a health clinic, library of queer literature, community and youth services, and volunteer events and opportunities.
Lambert House is a safe place for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 10-22, where they can go to make life better for each other. Lambert House offers different leadership programs and other activities.
A Seattle-based organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of the Latinx Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and questioning community.
Emerald City Black Pride (ECBP) is a program run by the Center for MultiCultural Health (CMCH) that sponsors events to support and affirm African American members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
PFLAG is a national organization that supports and educates the families and friends of LGBTQ+ people.
Contributed by Blaise Netzer (he/they), Sr. Consumer Lending Processor for Verity Credit Union