November is PrideFEST in Perth, a month-long celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture, arts and community. But if you want to truly support your LGBTQIA+ friends, family and colleagues, it’s a year-round commitment.
Some of Perth’s LGBTQIA+ community share their tips on how to be everyday allies.
City of Perth LGBTQIA+ Advisory Group
I first would like to acknowledge that being an ally of any community is not easy and you will get it wrong. Not having lived experience means that there is a lot of work to do in educating yourself. People appreciate when you make the effort, so don’t let the fear of making mistakes prevent you from connecting with them. The following is a list of some tips I think could be useful to you as an ally. This list is definitely not exhaustive and only comes from my experiences and the ones of my closest queer circle. I hope it helps!
Educate yourself. This is ongoing and can take as little as five minutes on any given day to a 24-hour marathon on how to become a super ally. Some suggestions: You can start by looking up LGBTQIA+ rights Australia on your preferred search engine. It will take you just five minutes to read the many summary tables out there and get up to speed with where the cause is at in your state/country. You can also use the same search engine to find out easy ways to make your language more inclusive. We all love making people around us feel comfortable and this will make a huge change to the LGBTQAI folx in your life.
Connect with us in a respectful way. Just like with everyone else you meet, it is OK for you to be curious but please be mindful of the questions that you ask and the assumptions you make. The first day we meet is not the best opportunity to ask us what we do in bed. Once we have developed a friendship (or else), there will be time for more candid or deep conversations. Asking about pronouns and introducing yours is generally a great way to start!
Support our causes. There are many organizations doing incredible work with our community in Perth. Get in touch, donate your time, money, art, clothes to advance the cause and make new friends. All these organizations will be listed in your favourite search engine that you used for tip one.
Celebrate with us. There are many LGBTQIA+ events and important dates all throughout the year. There are also queer authors, film makers and song writers whose work deserves your attention. Watch a queer movie, have a boogie to some incredible LGBTQIA+ tunes (there are many lists on Sportify!) or read some of the amazing stories or books written by this community.
WA representative for Intersex Peer Support Australia
Active allyship is aimed at supporting meaningful inclusion of intersex people that respects our diversity and addresses the issues we care about as a community. Here’s some ways to help support intersex people:
- Respect the diversity of the intersex population.
- Education, do your research, don’t expect intersex people to educate you all the time.
- Don’t make assumptions about people’s bodies or identities.
- Support our actions against medical interventions.
- Read the Inclusion Guide to Respecting People with Intersex Variations and How to be an Intersex Ally.
City of Perth LGBTQIA+ Advisory Group
When I was in high school, I was looking for ways to know who my allies were without needing to come out. Pride stickers on laptops, a small comment about how they supported marriage equality, introducing themselves with their pronouns as well, and so many other small details would be my signal to know I was safe. When I did eventually come out to someone, what I needed was support and understanding. Young LGBTQIA+ people are often in really difficult circumstances so being prepared to deal with that is also a good idea.
Bi+ Community Perth
You can be everyday allies to bi+ people with these tips (bi+ being the umbrella term to refer to people who are attracted to more than one gender).
- Challenge biphobia if you encounter it. Bisexuality is as valid as being straight or gay.
- Understand that bisexuality is an umbrella term (which encompasses people who are neither straight nor gay). People define their bisexuality in a way that is unique to them, and which can change over time.
- Use inclusive language. Terms like “gay marriage” can erase bi+ identities.
- Do not out a bi+ person unless you have their permission. It might be an unsafe space for someone to be outed.
- Make spaces and events more bi+ inclusive. Sometimes, bi+ people feel unwelcome in LGBTIQA+ spaces if their partner is of a different gender, or conversely, in mainstream spaces if their personal appearance does not conform to gender expectations or if their partner appears to be of the same gender.
- Learn about bisexuality through reputable sources. Many are online these days.
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