This Pride Month, be a Better Ally!
Lima James

Lima James

Jun 15Mental health

This Pride Month, be a Better Ally!

Ever been a fan of Google’s doodles? Were you surprised, therefore, on June 1st, when the Google homepage decorated your screen with confetti and you wondered what it was for? That was Google’s way of honouring Dr. Frank Kameny, a very influential person in the LGBTQI+ movement, to celebrate Pride Month.

June is celebrated as Pride Month worldwide, in memory of the Stonewall Riots that occurred in 1969 in New York City. Pride signifies the upliftment of the queer community, celebrating their achievements and portraying the challenges still faced by them. It is a way to increase their visibility and an opportunity for them to fight against the oppression, stigma, and hardships brought about by the system. Alienated and isolated for a long time, they have come far, but they still have a long way to go. And to achieve this means an arduous fight, a fight which they cannot win just by themselves. We don’t want them to feel they are alone in this fight, do we? That’s where we step in, as allies.

mental health

Being an ally is not easy, and the proverb, “Practice what you preach” holds the utmost importance here. What allyship means is acknowledging the privilege one has – the privilege of not belonging to a marginalised community, the privilege of having opportunities and the absence of particular hurdles, the privilege of your identity being unquestionable, and also, the privilege of your mental health not being additionally affected due to these rooted evils of discrimination and stigma. The queer community does not ask for much, it only asks for equality, a basic human right, something which they have been denied for ages. As an ally, our main role, therefore, is to amplify their voices using our existing privileges to demand privileges of their own. Navigating this can be difficult, but we have to do our bit, allowing them to have a platform to be visible and autonomous, and here are some things you could do to be a better ally:

1. Respect their identity

When someone places enough trust in you to disclose their identity, honor their choice. Acknowledge how scary it must have been for them to do that and understand that by doing so, they have taken a risk and are wading in uncharted territories. Don’t “out” them under any circumstances, and wait for them to choose if they prefer sharing their identity with others. When they seem to be going through a crisis, physically and mentally, you can do your bit by referring them to queer-affirmative practitioners, ensuring they are in safe places.

2. Respect their pronouns

Make it a practice to ask people their pronouns – what would they like for you to call them. You can even specify your pronouns, in social circles, on your social media handles, so that it becomes comfortable for them to share too. If you do make a mistake, gently apologize and ensure that you are careful the next time. If you own a business and have forms to fill, ask for people’s personal pronouns and make your set-up a queer-friendly place. Ask, don’t assume.

3. Support them

Many people from the community are trying hard to sustain themselves, so participate and contribute actively to their efforts. Buy from their businesses, spread the word and whenever possible, encourage them by putting in a kind word. You can also follow the social media handles of people from the community and try to respect their space. In a public setting, if you witness people from the community being ridiculed or humiliated, stand up for them.

4. Amplify their voices

When in a public space, if you feel they are being ignored and their opinions are not being respected, bring attention to it. Redirect your conversations to them, give them credit where it’s due and try to be inclusive. When we advocate for them publicly, their presence would be appreciated, reducing their feelings of alienation, thereby making it easier for them to be themselves. When holding seminars or conferences centered on themes related to the queer community, invite speakers who identify themselves as queer. Refrain from taking up their space, and take a back seat wherever possible; let them grab the limelight.

5. Do your bit

Partake in dispelling the stigma by doing your research. Keep yourself informed and acknowledge the privilege you experience. Stay up-to-date with concerns faced by the community and donate to organizations that work for their betterment, if you can. Listen to people from the community when they share their struggles and do not engage in belittling what they go through. Show up at protests, sign up for conferences and discussions and educate yourselves. Your smallest efforts can indeed go a long way!

Final Words

The world can sometimes be a cruel place, but through our efforts, we can make it certain that everyone gets their fair share. All we need to do is be kind, listen to them when they talk to us, be compassionate towards their feelings and acknowledge the unfair systems and practices. Like Captain Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine says, “Every time someone steps up and says who they truly are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place", the same way, every time we decide to make space for someone to be themselves, we make the world a better and more interesting place.

Disclaimer - This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

ProactiveForHer is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.