What began as a day to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, a tipping point for the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States, LGBTQ Pride Month has grown into a celebration of equality, visibility, and resilience. The Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall riots, is a part of many moments in history where communities fought long-standing violence, abuse, and discrimination to live freely and proudly. Today, the fight continues and there is still work to be done. No matter who you love or how you identify, everyone deserves to live loud and proud, without violence and abuse.
There are a number of ways you can be an ally to the LGBTQ community (and other communities) year-round!
Listen. The best way to learn about important issues and the personal experiences of a community is to listen to the many people who have firsthand experience. By listening to the voices of underrepresented groups, we all gain a better understanding of different issues.
Educate yourself. Get online! Read blogs, articles, and stories. Watch videos. Learn history and current events. One of the best ways to grow as an ally is to challenge your own assumptions and continue learning.
Speak up. Use what you’ve learned! Speak up when you hear offensive or oppressive jokes, comments, and language. Share stories and experiences, but remember to give credit to those who have shared their experiences with you. As allies, we help amplify the voices of the communities we support.
If you are wanting to support someone you care about that is LGBTQ and in an abusive relationship, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Empower them. Let them know that abuse is never their fault and support them in making decisions about what their next steps will be in getting help. Connect them with resources.
Be open. LGBTQ people can face a lot of judgment and discrimination. You can create a safer space by being willing to talk and not passing judgment. While some identities or language can be new to you, try to be open to other definitions and expanding what you know.
Challenge assumptions. The more we challenge our own assumptions, and think about how they influence our words and actions, the better allies we can be.
FORGE – FORGE is a national transgender and SOFFA (Significant Others, Family, Friends and Allies) organization that focuses on empowering, healing, and connecting victims and survivors of violence.
The Trevor Project – The Trevor Project is a crisis line for LGBTQ Youth. The hotline number is 866-488-7386
PFLAG – PFLAG is the extended family of the LGBTQ community. They’re made up of LGBTQ individuals, family members and allies. “Because together, we’re stronger.”
GLAAD – As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change.
If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, and is seeking help or support, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat with an advocate through Love is Respectby texting LOVEIS to 22522. If you are in the Hays/Caldwell county area, call HCWC at 512-396-HELP(4357)
Kiara is a full-time cat lady with a passion for social justice. At HCWC, she is the Primary Prevention Coordinator – facilitating conversations with adolescents and adults on fostering healthier relationships and ways to make the world a safer, more equitable place. Kiara is a proud alum of Texas State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology. Her passions include social change, youth activism, LGBTQ activism, and crafting. She doesn’t like taking pictures, but she does love Bitmojis.