Beyond Celebrating Pride: How to Be a Good LGBTQIA++ Ally
Being a good ally goes well beyond celebrating pride month! Here’s how you can support the community all year round.
Good intentions, friendship, and celebrating Pride Month aren’t always enough to become an effective LGBTQIA++ ally. It’s a complex relationship and responsibility. We asked members of the community and bonafide allies about meaningful ways to support the community.
It Starts with Respect
Stylist Luis Espiritu lays down the foundations of being a good ally: understanding and respect. Celebrating Pride is more than just about joining the parade and being proactive for a month — it’s a life-long commitment. “Believe that all people, regardless of identity, gender, race, and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect. Understand the adversity that LGBT people face and our history. Ask educated questions and research.”
Don’t Stereotype or Assume
Anyone would feel queasy around people who are “feeling close,” so why should the LGBTQ community be any different? Editor Raoul Chee Kee gives an example: “Don’t assume we like being called “‘Ter” or “Ate” or “Lola.” Familiarity breeds contempt. It takes time for some of us to warm up to others.”
Art director and editor Dexter de Vera adds that these are offensive remarks and slurs, and should be called out. “Speak up when you hear offensive remarks or slurs like ‘that is so gay’ or ‘baklang parlor.’ Calling out people when they say derogatory words in addressing members of the community will let them know that it’s not acceptable. Anti-LGBT comments and jokes are harmful,” he explains.
Apologize When You Make a Mistake
Dexter de Vera adds that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and apologize. “Never assume that all your friends or colleague, or even relatives, are straight. By not making assumptions about a person and his/her gender identity and sexual orientation, you will earn their trust, especially in their coming out process.
“Correct people if they misgender someone. Or if you have committed this mistake, apologize and tell that member that you are willing to be guided. Listening to the members of the community is celebrating Pride.Understanding them can help you empathize with the community. Defend the community members against discrimination.”
Practice Acceptance and Be Kind
For brand manager JB Roperos, being an ally is a complicated role, but it can be done. He shares, “As a Christian, being an ally of the LGBTQIA+ might seem impossible at first. But if we just learn to accept everyone just as how Jesus Christ welcomes everyone who goes near him, nothing will be unworkable.”
JB adds that it’s okay to mess up — nobody is perfect. What’s important is to learn from them and do better. “There will be times that we will mess up accidentally, particularly with the pronouns used. That is fine as long as we own up to it and apologize. We’re not perfect, it’s not a perfect world but we can make each day bearable in our little ways,” he says.
When in Doubt, Ask
Account manager Ish Reyes emphasizes the importance of understanding, acceptance, and equality. She says, “To the straights, do not make assumptions about someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity and realize that both are completely different things. When in doubt, ask. To the LGBTQIA++.”
Recognizing, however, that not all people will have access to information or will even know where to look, Ish notes that the community also needs to be patient. “Not everyone is privileged to know SOGIE. Instead of hating people who do not understand, hear them out and correct them. The same goes with SOGIE-educated straight people. Don’t hate. Educate.”
Ish adds, “A lot of people may say that they are accepting of the LGBTQIA++ community but in reality, they are just being tolerant. They think of the community as a joke hence some LGBTQIA++ people feel limited. Treat them the same as other people — with love and respect — and give them the same opportunities.”
Celebrate Their Happiness with Them
For PR practitioner Ley Laksamana, it all comes down to being a good, supportive, and true friend.
She says, “Give them a safe space to be who they are and who they wish to be when they’re around you. Accepting who they are now is not the be-all and end-all of being an ally. It’s on how you embrace and support them throughout the changes they go through in life — whoever they choose to be, you cheer for them, you uplift them.”
In the end, celebrating Pride means having their back. “You want them to be proud of themselves and their choices. You want them to be truly happy because that brings you happiness too.”
Ley adds, “Most importantly, you have to stand up for them and be willing to speak up when you see any form of unfair behavior. Even if it’s as minuscule of a remark as ‘ang pogi / ganda pa naman niya, sayang naman yan.’ It’s your responsibility to correct it.
She explains that there’s no need to be combative or aggressive about it — just send your message across. “The LGBT’s choices and happiness are as valid as everyone else’s. No one should see their choices as anything less than valuable. When you see happiness in people, you celebrate it.”
Do Not Put Them in a Box; Support Their Businesses
Lifestyle journalist Irene Perez believes in being chill but supportive, but most importantly, not putting them in a box. “As an LGBTQIA++ ally, it is important for me to respect everyone’s boundaries and personalities. For example, not all my gay friends watch drag, know gay lingo, or do makeup — that’s okay.”
An example of respecting boundaries is not “outing” people in public or even using gay expressions to address LGBTQIA++. She explains, “Do not scream “Halleloo” at them and expect them to be all rainbows and unicorns, even if they’re out.”
When it comes to celebrating Pride, there are many ways to show support. It can be fighting against or supporting their causes. “Be ready to stand up if some ‘macho’ rando blurts out homophobic remarks, especially if there is a person addressed or outright bullied who may be too shocked to respond.
Another concrete way to give the community a boost is to support friends’ projects and businesses. “Volunteer, purchase, or simply share and follow their social media accounts. Spread awareness about community-based organizations such as LoveYourself Inc. and Lunas Collective, which provide free counseling,” Irene explains.
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Being a good ally begins with good intentions and being willing to do the work. It means knowing that there’s a lot more to learn and plenty of room to grow and evolve. Celebrating Pride is a good start, but it’s what you do the rest of the year for your LGBTQ friends and family that truly counts.
Are you ready to celebrate National Pride Month? Watch this video to find out how to say no to bacteria breath and say yes to all kinds of love!