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5+ Ways You Can Be An LGBTQ+ Ally Year Round

Rainbow sidewalk and white text "5+ Ways You Can Be An LGBTQ+ Ally Year Round By Eileen Asher"

Did you know, Pride Month wasn’t always about a joyous parade? It started as a riot against the unjust treatment queer people were receiving at the Stonewall Inn. 

Just because Pride Month is officially over for 2021, doesn’t mean your allyship should end either. It can last every day throughout the year both inside and outside of work. 

But what does being a year-round ally look like? Hint: It’s not about wearing colorful face paint or waving flags. Being an ally requires you to take action. Here are a few great ways to start your allyship journey and sustain it throughout the year:

1.  Listen to LGBTQ+ voices. (How to really listen)

Not all voices are coming from the same perspective, but all perspectives are valid and unique.

 2. Buy from queer-owned businesses! 

A little research before buying never hurt anyone and you’ll make a gay’s day! Support local businesses and makers. They’re everywhere!

3. Be wary of Rainbow Capitalism. 

With June in the rearview, many brands will be changing their logos back from rainbow colors. But it’s important to know if changing their logo is a company’s only way of supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Hold these companies accountable by finding out the answers to these questions: Are they hiring LGBTQ+ members throughout the company? How many board members identify as LGBTQ+ or are strong allies? How many are in leadership positions? If the answer is “not many”, demand more inclusive hiring practices. Also, sporting a rainbow logo doesn’t count as allyship when the company donates to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations or politicians.

4. Don't assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight or gender conforming. 

Use pronouns when introducing yourself and invite others to share theirs. Put your pronouns in your email signature or social profiles. 

Pro Tip: LinkedIn, Instagram, and Zoom have special places for you to display your pronouns!

5. Anti-LGBTQ+ comments and jokes are harmful. 

Let your friends, family, and co-workers know that these actions hurt you. And don’t be afraid to be vocal about it. Explain to them that laughing at an offensive joke or going along with offensive comments sends the message to the LGBTQ+ person that it’s okay to be hateful.

Bonus: Donate and advocate! 

A record number of legislation against LGBTQ+ folks have been introduced in Ohio and across the nation. Organizations are working hard to make sure that LGBTQ+ members are given the respect and dignity they deserve in healthcare, in school, at work, and more. Sign those petitions, donate to their cause, email or call your representatives. That’s where being an ally is most important. 

Being an ally for anyone is not just about showing up. It’s about showing up and doing the work. Make sure your allyship makes a difference. Wearing rainbow colors and displaying flags is great, but there is real work to be done in all communities and workplaces. 

It’s important to point out, this is not a complete list! There are many other ways to support marginalized communities, it just requires you to listen to those people and do some exploring on your own! Starting in your workplace where you are surrounded by many people of different opinions and backgrounds is a great place to begin this work. 

What did I leave out? Tell me how you show up as an ally throughout the year. 

More reading:

Eileen Asher (she/her) is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at Ohio Dominican University with a specialization in branding and identity. She is a member of the ESC Communications team where she works towards developing more inclusive design and marketing practices. She is currently enrolled in the Project Diversity Pride Leadership class of 2021 through United Way of Central Ohio, developing her skills to serve as a future non-profit board member.

Email Eileen at [email protected]  for more information about the LGBTQ+ community or communications services