June 30, 2023

Ally for PRIDE 101: What is it and how to be one

EMPAUA Salesforce Partner

As June rolls around, you might have already noticed a sudden increase in rainbow-themed merchandise and advertisements and you know what that means – it is Pride Month! Pride is the time for celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, promoting acceptance and equality, and recognising the progress we have made while acknowledging the work that still needs to be done.

You may think that Pride is only for the LGBTQ+ community. However, it is actually for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity! It’s an opportunity to come together to support and encourage our fellow humans, to stand up for those whose voices are often being suppressed and as a consequence, who may not always feel accepted, and to declare that we are all worthy of love and respect. And this is what allyship means.

At EMPAUA, we believe in the power of creating powerful conversations. For us, the importance we place on discussing the topic of being an ally for pride can boost Inclusivity and Diversity and Employee Well-being and Support. Let's go through these terms together! 

Understanding an Ally

Ally is a term that gets used a lot in the LGBTQ+ community. Simply put, being an ally means:

  • Actively educating yourself about, supporting and advocating for a marginalised community without being a member of that community. 
  • Recognising your privilege and using it to amplify the voices of those who may not have the same opportunities to be heard.

And support from allies is not just something people in underrepresented communities want – it’s something we, as a society, deeply need.

So, what makes a good LGBTQ+ ally? Here’s how to get started!

1. Identify yourself as ally

To be a good LGBTQ+ ally, of course, you need to identify yourself as one first :) And be visible about that! Queer people may be reluctant to "come out" to someone unless they are confident that person will do them no harm, especially in work and or professional environment. That’s why, whether subtly or directly, try to let a queer person know that you not only accept them as they are but also support them in many ways. There are many ways to signal queer people that “you’re safe with me”, such as:

  • Sticking equality stickers on the back of your laptop
  • Sharing with them that you are interested in going to PRIDE parades, rallies or events
  • Sharing social media posts regarding LGBTQ+ news
  • Sharing about the LGBTQ+ organisations you support
  • Speaking out loud about your support for LGBTQ+ rights and equality

However, please do remember, under no circumstances, should you make any assumptions about someone's sexual orientation or proactively inquire about someone's sexual orientation. A queer person will come out to you at their own pace if they want to and if they feel safe enough with you.

2. Brush up on your SOGIE

 To be a good ally for the LGBTQ+ community, it's important to familiarise yourself and understand the terminology and concepts related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE). This can include understanding the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as learning about the diverse experiences of different individuals and communities within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Here is a visual model of SOGIE:

Image by littlebylittle.co

3. Practice asking people their pronouns

Using someone's correct pronouns is an important way to show respect for their gender identity, without being too intrusive, especially in a social setting. A simple question such as: “May I ask what your pronouns are?” when meeting someone new can be the proper way to start. However, if you feel too shy to do this, try introducing yourself with your pronouns instead.

4. Avoid gender stereotyping

Challenge and break free from traditional gender stereotypes. Stop labelling things as only for boys or only for girls, especially around kids. There are things that might be done unintentionally, such as assuming pink is for girls and blue is for boys or only girls like makeup, and so on. Those seemingly harmless assumptions, in fact, do more harm than good. These assumptions are harmful and limiting, as they help to reinforce gender stereotypes and heteronormativity. By avoiding gender stereotyping, you create a more inclusive environment where everyone is free to express themselves and be their authentic selves.

5. Speak up against hate

As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, it's important to speak up against hate and discrimination, especially when the affected person/group is not there or just doesn't have a voice. You can do this by calling out homophobic or transphobic language, reporting discrimination or hate crimes to the appropriate authorities, and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced discrimination. When you’re in a position of privilege, use your voice to amplify those who need amplifying.

6. Most importantly, be an intersectional ally

People don’t fit into just one box. Being an intersectional ally means recognizing and supporting people whose various social/political identities combined expose them to overlapping forms of discrimination. If a queer person is also a person of colour and/or lives with a disability, they might also face discrimination because of each of these features. As a result, when you stand up for one marginalised group, you should also be aware of other intertwined social factors that might disadvantage the people around you. 

Amandla Stenberg

To become an effective ally, besides fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, you will also need to fight for equality for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, or gender identity.

Final words 

As we celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community for PRIDE month, it's important to remember that being an ally is not just a once-a-year commitment. It's a continuous effort to support and uplift marginalised groups, as well as fight for equal rights for everyone.

At EMPAUA, we highly value diversity, equity and inclusivity, not just in our own team but also in the way we provide services to our clients. We understand that being an ally is not just a buzzword; it's a crucial aspect of creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. We are passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working and learning environment for everyone, in which, regardless of how you identify yourself and what your background is, you are excited to come into work every day.


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