Pride celebrations are fun, unique, and hard to beat.
With displays of love, party, and sometimes even protest, pride celebrations are in a league of their own, and of course, straight allies are welcome to join in!
However, if you’re a straight ally getting ready to support your friends at pride, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of before joining the fun.
Remember: you’re joining this safe space as a guest, so you need to be kind and considerate if you want to celebrate responsibly.
Without further ado, here are ten ways for straight, cisgender people to be better allies at pride events (and beyond).
What Does It Mean To Be An LGBTQ+ Ally?
Regardless of your sex or gender, you can support the LGBTQ+ community.
Allies are important and welcomed supporters of the movement, and because of their privilege, they have one of the most influential voices for change.
Allies can do more than just support their friends. Some allies can create a much-needed platform to help fight the homophobia and transphobia that’s still rife in society and advocate for equal rights, regardless of sexuality.
If you want to be a good ally, you should also ensure to stay well-informed on current events and issues in the LGBTQ+ community.
This makes it easier to create that all-important platform, and discover more ways to use your privilege for good.
Aside from pride, there are many ways to be a good ally, including…
Providing Financial Support
If you have the means to do so, one of the best ways to support the community is to offer financial support.
There’s a significant income disparity in the community, so donating money to queer activist groups or even donating to the crowdfund page of someone marginalized can be incredibly helpful.
Make Room For LGBTQ+ People To Exist
One of the most important things an ally can do is to make room for LGBTQ+ people to exist.
This could be anything from supporting local queer artists and educators to literally creating a space for LGBTQ+ people to meet.
Contributing to the creation of safe spaces will make you a great ally, and you’ll be doing something amazing for the community.
Queer people face adversity in so many aspects of their lives. As a good ally, it’s your duty to understand how this adversity manifests and affects them and see what you can do to help.
Whether it’s workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, or more, adversity is everywhere.
In the US, many LGBTQ+ people can still be denied services and housing and can even be fired without any legal repercussions.
Gay, bisexual, and lesbian employees are also more likely to be fired from a job or denied a position completely compared to their straight counterparts.
Evidently, there’s still a long way to go if we’re to ensure equal rights and a life free of discrimination for all LGBTQ+ people.
Take some time to understand how severe this adversity is throughout the world and how it manifests, so you can better understand how to support your gay friends and the community as a whole.
1. Respect What It Means To Be Proud
Being out and proud is an important part of being LGBTQ+. Pride events are a time for the LGBTQ+ community to be unapologetically themselves in a safe space that allows them to do so.
Every one of us is unique, and many LGBTQ+ people will choose to express their uniqueness outwardly.
If you’re not used to seeing anything outside the ‘norm,’ this may throw you off – but it’s exactly what pride is all about. Anything goes, as long as it’s not hateful!
Expect to see glitter, rainbows, unconventional outfits, and drag queens for miles. If you want to be a better ally, there’s no hate here.
Embrace everything that makes pride so unique, and stand proud and savor every moment with your LGBTQ+ friends.
2. Understand Your Privilege
If you’re going to attend a pride event, it’s important to understand your privilege. If you’re a straight person, you’ve probably never been concerned for your safety just for holding your partner’s hand.
You’ve probably never been scared to go out in public dressed to express your identity because your safety is jeopardized just for doing so. This is privilege.
Keep this in mind when LGBTQ+ folks surround you. This simple act has the power to shape how you think of yourself and what role you play in your pride celebration.
3. Learn More About Pride
One of the best things you can do is to learn more about Pride. Have you ever wondered why straight people don’t have a pride festival? Pride is more than just a celebration of being ‘gay.’
Gay pride events are now an annual celebration due to the Stonewall Riots of 1969. These riots took place after the police raided a gay bar in New York.
During previous raids, people remained compliant, but this time, they took a stand.
This sparked a series of protests that took place over three days. Riots ensued, and as a result, the movement toward gay rights began.
Each year, pride parades are held to commemorate this incredible event and to recognize the freedom of choice and freedom from persecution that many gay people no longer face.
However, persecution and homophobia are still rife throughout the world. Pride is also a way to remember the work that still needs to be done and to raise money for the activism that’s still needed.
4. Keep Others Safe
If you’re attending pride as an ally, you also have a duty to keep other people safe. The same persecution and opposition that created pride still exist today, and it’s a threat at any and every pride event.
Protestors are likely to attend, and homophobic and transphobic attacks and insults unfortunately still happen.
This is shocking, but unfortunately, it does happen. Recognize your own privilege, and be prepared to make a stand against anyone who threatens the safe space of your LGBTQ+ peers.
Call out the protestors and hecklers, and if you can’t, check on your friends who may be impacted. It may seem like a small act, but it can make a huge difference.
5. Don’t Assume Pronouns
At any pride event, you should never assume someone’s pronouns.
Many people attending Pride will come from all ends of the gender spectrum, and even if you’re not intending to be malicious, misgendering someone can make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
If you’re unsure which pronouns you should use to refer to someone, it’s always best to ask. This is a great way to show your allyship, and it will be highly appreciated by the person you’re addressing.
6. Understand That It Isn’t For You
Pride is fun and fabulous but remember: it isn’t for you. Celebrating pride is great, but this event is a moment for the LGBTQ+ community. Remember that you are a guest, and your experience will be secondary.
You might not be able to relate to queer experiences, but you can celebrate the people around you and do so with pride.
That is your primary role as an ally and should be your main intention when entering this safe space.
7. Don’t Support Or Promote Hateful Organizations
Don’t support or promote hateful organizations at pride. This should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, it still happens.
The gay rights movement still needs support and collaboration to help marginalized individuals, so do your research, and ensure you’re not promoting anything hateful – even if it’s unintentional.
8. Understand What Transphobia And Homophobia Look Like Today
Take some time to understand what transphobia and homophobia look like. This may sound obvious, but they can appear in different ways. Transphobia and homophobia aren’t always overt.
It can be feeling uncomfortable because of inappropriate comments or questions, being denied a job because of your identity, or struggling to find a home because of a prejudiced landlord… research, understand, and look out for it at pride. If you see it, say something.
9. Speak Up
Remember to speak up. Again, this is about protecting other queer people at pride – if something seems wrong, say something. You must be respectful and protect others around you – so do it.
10. It’s Not All About Partying!
Pride isn’t just one big party. Sure, it’s great fun, and there IS a large amount of partying involved – but this event is just being thrown for the sake of it.
Prejudice is still rife, but pride is a way to celebrate the history of the gay community and the actions that are helping create a safer, more inclusive society.
The Bottom Line
Pride is great fun, but if you’re attending as an ally, remember to check your privilege. Be respectful, courteous, and kind, and support your gay friends with pride.
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