How To Support The LGBTQ Community If You Can’t Make It To A Pride Celebration
June is quickly coming to a close, as is the month of Pride: 30 days dedicated to commemoration, solidarity, and celebration. But don't you worry — despite the startlingly fast rate at which this month has flown by, there is still time to overtly support the LGBTQ community, even if you haven't had the time to attend a pride event.
It's important to remind yourself (and your peers) that pride is about a lot more than showering yourself in glitter, taking rainbow Instagram pictures, and dancing your way through a parade. It's marks the anniversary of the historical Stonewall Riots of 1969, celebrates the acceptance of all members of the LGBTQ community, and both recognizes and aims to bring awareness to struggles these individuals continue to face in the name of equality.
As our current political administration continues to attempt to undermine the LGBTQ community's victories, Pride is an opportunity to come together in support, and elevate marginalized voices in the name of love, tolerance and understanding. It is more significant than ever for allies of the community to demonstrate their support through tangible action, even if you can't make the parade or the party. Here are eight ways you can continue contribute, even past the month of June — all year round.
1Attend An Ally Training
It's one thing to call yourself an "ally" to the LGBTQ community, but what does that actually mean? Instead of just saying something, do something. Visit organizations such as the Safe Zone and find an ally training near you — take the time to learn about the LGBTQ in a historical, contextual lens, and find out who you personally can benefit the community by practicing active listening and actionable advice. If you want to actually be an ally, own it.
2Support An LGBTQ Organization
Do you feel like you don't have the bandwidth to aid the LGBTQ community in all the ways you wish you could? Well luckily for you, organizations like GLAAD are putting in the hard work and dedication year round to provide incredible resources to community members in need, advocate for those who are being silenced, map out policy, champion representation in the media and more! Donate to help fund and support their great work.
3Purchase A Product That Actually Benefits The LGBTQ Community
Consider purchasing a product that not only benefits you, but also donates all proceeds to benefit an LGBTQ organization! For example, designer Alexander Wang has partnered with trojan condoms to create the 'Protect Your Wang' capsule collection, the proceeds of which will go towards the LGBT Center of New York for their sexual health programs! Can you say win-win?
4Volunteer At A Local Shelter
Want to go one step further than just monetary aid? Try starting from the ground up. Visit the Trevor Project, an organization crisis intervention to young members of the LGBTQ community, some of whom have runaway from home. Find out how your personally can make a difference — whether than means volunteering at a local summer, or cooking them meals to eat for dinner. I spent one summer bringing my local shelter pasta on Mondays.
5Raise Your Voice On Social Media
Do you have a social platform — whether that means Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook? Don't remain silent. Use what power you have to voice your support of your LGBTQ peers and elevate the voices of others. Consider retweeting posts about Pride from GLAAD or publications like Them. Raise your voice, and use the internet to spread awareness, educate, and celebrate!
6Call Your Representatives
And if you're not just picking up the phone to tweet out your support, use it to do that old-fashioned thing that phones used to be good for! Call your legislators and advocate to protect members of the LGBTQ community against discrimination. Voice your support for policies and legislation that values and safeguards members of the community and their rights! Even if you leave a voicemail, it can make a huge impact — your message will be passed on.
7Support LGBTQ Businesses
Do not forget that this is still capitalist America, where consumers hold a ton of power just by picking up their wallets! Choose to spend your money at LGBTQ-owned or friendly businesses, and support them locally in a physical and tangible fashion. From sex shops that were founded by queer women, like Babeland, to popular fashion brands like Otherwild, there's sure to be a fabulous piece just waiting for you!
8Use Your Privilege To Elevate The Voices Of Others
Above all, if you're an ally to the LGBTQ community, remember not to make Pride all about you. Use your privilege to elevate the experiences, narratives, and messages of those who aren't in the same position — those who have been marginalized, repressed, and historically ignored. If you consider yourself a friend to community, do what you can to serve the community: for the last few days of pride, and 365 days a year.
Pride can be a lot of fun, but it's also an important moment of reconciliation — a time to reflect on your identity, your privilege, and your contextual experiences. Use it to empower yourself and others, and give your LGBTQ friends, family, and peers the emotional love, support, and space to express themselves. Celebrate unconditional and unequivocal love!