Poyer: Let’s talk being a good ally

Columnist Sarah Poyer discusses how to be a good ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Sarah Poyer

We are wrapping up my Pride Month columns with an exceptional topic. Being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community is very important, but being a good ally is crucial. As I have told you many times throughout this month, members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience many disadvantages simply due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Who they are as a person is offensive to some people, so they experience discrimination and hate. 

An ally is an ally 365 or 366 days a year, not just during Pride Month. Allies show up for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and lend them support in various ways. Being a good ally is crucial, as I said earlier. Many people come out when they go to college, and it is the first time they are away from home and can explore themselves. So, as college students, it is imperative to understand how to be an excellent ally to our friends and others on campus. Being a good ally isn’t just for young adults and college students, though; it’s something everyone can be. 

1. Financial support: According to Vox, based on a 2016 survey from Prudential Financial, the LGBTQIA+ community experiences an income gap compared to their straight counterparts. Experiencing any monetary struggle profoundly affects a person. It leads them to have to worry about how to make ends meet. 

Being able to support the LGBTQIA+ community financially would be excellent in terms of allyship. Financial support in any way is fantastic, even if it is just a five-dollar donation to a person’s Gofundme page to help them afford top surgery. Small amounts of money add up fast, so any amount is significant and a fantastic way to show your allyship. 

2. Be willing to learn and educate yourself: Knowing how the world affects those you love, your peers and your community is quite important. 

Learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community — the struggles, the wins and everything in between. Listen to your friend come out to you as they tell you their story because everyone is unique. Your friend may be new to the community and not know all the answers either, so when listening to them and learning, be sure to ask questions. Maybe you two can do research together! 

3. Show up: Pride is lovely. Having a month to celebrate the wins of the LGBTQIA+ community and acknowledge the struggles is terrific. But show up for more than just pride. 

Being an ally is a year-round job. You don’t just choose to be be an ally during June because if you do, are you being an ally at all? You have to show up. Be there and support your friends and even strangers who need it. Support is essential all year. Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is not just a once-a-year thing; it is an all-year, everyday experience, and being an ally needs to be, too.

Both of the websites I used for this article have many other wonderful examples of being an excellent ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. I chose to talk about three that stuck out to me because I couldn’t cover all the ways to be a good ally in this column. Being a good ally seems to boil down to a few simple “rules” anyway: show up, listen, learn and be supportive. Being an ally is a simple task to make sure people feel supported and cared for. While Pride Month may be ending, being an ally should not. It is best if you show up every day for the LGBTQIA+ community.