Each June, parades, rallies, parties and demonstrations are held around the world to mark Pride month – the annual event that pays tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots.
From the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, to the same-sex couples marriage act of 2013, Pride has long been vital in paving the way for progression – recognising the need for equal rights for people of all genders and sexual orientations.
Aside from being a political event though, it’s also a moment to pause and celebrate how far we’ve come – and you don’t have to be a member of the LGBTQ community to get involved. Here are some really simple ways you can be an active ally this year.
One of the most effective ways you can influence change is by donating to causes and organisations that advocate for LGBTQ issues. The charity Stonewall is the UK’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity, and their work helps people in the community not just to survive, but to thrive.
A donation to Stonewall helps the charity to transform institutions, change and protect laws, foster inclusivity and empower LGBTQ people to be their most authentic selves.
GoFundMe is also a great place to find direct, personal causes to support. In recent months, many people have turned to the platform to crowdfund their transitions, asking donors to help them access vital surgery that they cannot afford themselves – especially given the social and employment discrimination that transgender people face.
2. Change your pronouns on Instagram
Showing your support on social media is arguably the most visible way to spread awareness.
As well as sharing information from trusted and verified sources, you could get involved with Instagram’s latest feature, which allows you to add your gender identity to your profile. To do so, simply tap ‘Edit Profile’ below your profile information, then tap ‘Pronouns’ and fill in your defined words.
Even if you’re cisgender, and you identify with the sex assigned to you at birth, adding these pronouns is a important show of solidarity as it normalises discussions around gender.
3. Educate yourself
There are so many fun and enjoyable ways to educate yourself about LGBTQ rights that go way beyond reading a dull Wikipedia page.
Whether you stick on the Netflix documentary Disclosure (which looks at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people), plug into a podcast like Making Gay History or you simply update your bookshelf with some new reads, it’s so easy to find ways to ‘do the work’ that don’t feel like a chore.
4. Confront your own unconscious bias
Once you’ve read up on LGBTQ issues, use what you’ve learned to look inwards at some of the ways you enable harmful stereotypes.
Do you tell jokes where a gay person is the punchline? Do you use swear words that could be derogatory? Are you in a workplace that isn’t lifting up its LGBTQ staff members?
Even if you feel like you don’t practise harmful behaviours, part of being an ally is also calling out unacceptable behaviour from friends and colleagues when you see or hear it. Essentially, we can all evoke positive change on a micro-level.
5. Find an event
Pride is one of the most uplifting and joyful events of the year – so make sure to get involved with whatever is happening in your local area.
Pride in London will take place in September 2021 this year and many indoor events have been cancelled because of social distancing rules, but there are lots of digital celebrations happening across the internet and Zoom.
Find an online party, don your most feel-good outfit, and get your mates together to celebrate love and acceptance – in all of its many wonderful forms.