Throughout the month of June, we can celebrate Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQIA+ and allies to come together and raise awareness. Simultaneously it is a time to see how far we have come as a society, and also locate what still needs to be improved for the community.
In the UK it was only in 2013 that Parliament passed the Marriage Act, which introduced civil marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales. This in itself highlights the work that needs to be done as it should be a given that people can openly marry whoever they want regardless of sexuality.
Therefore, it is important that we as individuals educate ourselves on how we can become better allies of the LGBTQIA+ community and learn of the origins of Pride month.
Brief history of Pride Month
The month itself originates from the 1960s in America. This is mostly due to the commemoration of the Stonewall riots which took place in New York within the Stonewall Inn Bar on 28th June 1969. Prior to the event, sexuality and identity typically were not broadcast the way we see in contemporary society today, however, since then, there has been more impactful political activism surrounding gay rights.
Furthermore, throughout the month there are memorials held for members of the community who have been lost due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The month is vital in recognising the historical impact that lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people have had on societies internationally.
The last Sunday of June was initially known as gay Pride Day but has grown into a month-long series of events that is now celebrated by a multitude of countries around the world. Typically, nowadays, the month involves numerous events, it is often celebrated with a parade with many colourful floats and support both from the community itself and allies out in support.
What work still needs to be done
Within the LGBTQIA+ community, there is still work that needs to be done by society and those in power to create a better quality of life for all. Societies worldwide should welcome diversity in all degrees and be tolerant and welcoming of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation.
Within 2022, people shouldn’t have to be mindful of where they feel comfortable displaying affection or their partner within society, acceptance needs to be normalised. For instance, within an LGBT survey carried out by the UK Government it was astonishingly found that two-thirds of respondents felt that they had avoided holding the hands of their significant other in public due to fear of a negative reaction.
We as individuals should be more welcoming towards others and people’s sexuality should not interfere with their livelihoods, workplace or personal lives.
How you can be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ Community
Listen and be supportive, if you are in a position where someone is coming out to you, allow them time to tell you in their own way and remember to always be kind.
Don’t apply labels to anyone. It is important that you only use them if the person has told you how they would like to be referred to as because you shouldn’t ever assume somebody’s gender or sexual orientation.
Stay educated by following LGBTQIA+ news and topics, read blogs such as PinkNews, Gay Times and Diva. Educate yourself on terminology you may not be familiar with, sites such as Stonewall are great platforms to further your knowledge, especially their keyword glossary.
Introduce yourself with your pronouns, even the simplest act of adding pronouns to your social media bio is a form of alliance.
Within working environments, you can be an ally by visibly showing your support to others within the community. You could wear a colourful lanyard or display posters within the workplace and talk positively about inclusion. By doing this you will make people feel more comfortable around you and within the workplace.
Never assume someone has come out to everyone. Always make sure you check about how comfortable they are with people knowing, for instance in a work or group setting.
Avoid assumptions, simply put try not to make gender references. Instead, use terms like ‘partner’ to avoid assuming anyone’s sexual orientation.
Furthermore, it is important that you stay informed and educated on the latest LGBTQIA+ news and remain an ally of the community all year round, not just within the month of June.
For further information on Pride month and sexuality, visit Mindless Mag.