How to be a better ally in the age of keyboard heroes

It’s June 2021. Social media is painted in the colours of the rainbow as an ode to the P.R.I.D.E month. Everybody is showing support by posting motivational, inspirational and celebratory quotes on Instagram. What a great way to be inclusive towards our LGBTQIA community, right? WRONG.
Rainbow washing, supporting online and doing the several things one may do for one month of the year is more piggy-backing for self-benefit than being inclusive or supportive towards the LGBTQIA community aka the unicorns amongst us ordinaires—stronger than average, more beautiful inside-out, and more kind, patient and compassionate than many of us. It takes a lot to be fighting to simply be “treated as an equal” in the same society where you are being “treated as an outcast”, and the least we can do is to be allies in the battle.

Source: https://i.etsystatic.com/5279443/c/1969/1565/6/477/il/eea6b4/3058817800/il_340x270.3058817800_oete.jpg

As allies, or atleast in our sincere effort to be one, we’ve always kept communication channels open with everybody, and our BLC unicorns have often educated us on what makes a great ally. Even recently, we spoke with a few members of our fam, and we’ve taken notes. If you need some help understanding what differentiates an ally from a keyboard hero, how you can truly be a better ally to the LGBTQIA community, here’s something that might perhaps be a starting point.

#1 It starts with respect
Respect your queer friends and acquaintances. They can be loud, extraaaaa!,
unapologetically expressive, dress or look different, but they can also be shy, introverted and inexpressive or dress just like you do. Don’t try to change them; respect their choices, preferences and how they would like to be seen or perceived.

Source:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CMGDOSMDq14/

#2 It’s not about you, it’s about them
As a true ally, you are here to create space for them, not to own it or share it. When you are voicing your opinions, sharing your thoughts, you are bound to receive some mileage but use it correctly to help the community and further the agenda of equal rights for the LGBTQIA community. When you own the space or try to share it, you take a little more away from what deserves to be theirs.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/COFh0sSD19y/

#3 Allyship is not a performance
A lot of people attend Pride marches as onlookers, free-loaders of attention or oglers. Don’t be that person. Just don’t. If you attend a Pride march for attendance check or speak up publicly to be seen as an ally, you defeat the purpose of allyship as you expect the spotlight to be on you. Don’t “perform” allyship, be an ally.

Source:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CPlEtdlBY0u/

#4 Allies don’t come with durations, terms and conditions
Allyship is not a calendar event that rings a bell towards June and leaves when it’s over. Allyship is undated, and comes with no terms and conditions. As an ally, you work constantly on supporting your friends irrespective of the time of the year or day. You support them when they are around and even when they are not.

Source:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CPmiBeos2IX/

#5 Understand your privilege
Check your privilege—it may come from recognising yourself as cisgender, affluence, education, being of a certain race or class that society puts on a higher pedestal. When you understand your privilege, you know better what you can do to make it better for your friends fighting the P.R.I.D.E fight. This is not to take away from the fair share of personal struggles you would have faced. However, you can empathise better with the marginalised or oppressed communities.

Source:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CPoLxI1MgmU/

#6 Research, understand, absorb, repeat
If you’ve had the go over some of the terms we used earlier like ‘queer’ and ‘cisgender’ a second time, or even look up what the ‘I’ or ‘A’ in LGBTQIA stands for, there’s more that needs to be done on your part. More research, more understanding. While you might be fully supportive, when you lack knowledge, you’re bound to make a few errors in the process and hurt sentiments unintentionally. Accept your fault, apologise and ask to be corrected. Make
yourself aware of the pronouns—how somebody would like to be referred to, of gender identities—how one identifies oneself, what is the difference between these gender identities and beyond.


And even after you’ve done all of the above to be a better ally, it is about continuous work. Unlearn the conventional and learn what’s relevant everyday. Be sensitive, be respectful, and be accepting. Repeat with us again—IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’S ABOUT THEM.


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