Fashion & Lifestyle

The Role of Allies in the Queer Community

The Role of Allies in the Queer Community - Hunky Tops

Allies play a significant role in the LGBTQ+ community. They are integral in providing the support and advocacy that can help drive systemic change and widespread social acceptance.

While much of the heavy lifting still rests on the shoulders of those within the community, the movement cannot grow without allies joining the fight and normalizing the queer existence. This includes creating safe and inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and equality.

There’s no doubt you know someone who identifies as an ally and if either of you are interested in or wondering what they can do to demonstrate their support and care, we have some suggestions!

How Allies Can Support the Queer Community

Support and Advocacy

One of the main things that allies can do to support LGBTQ+ individuals is to provide emotional support AND take on some advocacy work.

Allies can offer an understanding ear, listening to both problems and struggles but also sharing in the joy, triumph, and happiness common to many queer folks. Yes, LGBTQ+ individuals need loving support in times of hurt and trouble -- we all do, but they also need people who see the good. All too often, LGBTQ+ existence gets narrowed to the fight for equality. And while that’s a part of it, the entirety of queer life is so much more than that.

Celebrating queer joy can be just as impactful as being there in times of struggle.

Allies can also play a key role in raising awareness of the issues, the discrimination, and the struggles facing LGBTQ+ folks. All too often, discrimination and hate are born from ignorance. By using their position as heterosexual, cisgender individuals, allies may be able to have conversations with people in their lives, creating more understanding. In this same vein, allies can amplify queer voices and concerns, pushing these voices to wider audiences.

Continued Learning

Allies can support the queer community by educating themselves on the spectrum of identities and the unique troubles faced by the queer community. Furthermore, everyone, queer or ally, can do more to understand intersectionality, gender fluidity, and trans identity.

This learning can go a long way to unlearning prejudice, dispelling myths, and combating stereotypes.

Allyship is an active role. One cannot identify as an ally and then stop. Exploring deeper education is particularly important in workplaces, schools, and religious communities where misinformation or lack of understanding is prevalent.

Well-informed allies are well-equipped to challenge homophobic and transphobic remarks and behaviors and promote a more accepting community at large.

Creating Inclusive Spaces

Queer individuals need and deserve safe and inclusive spaces. Allies can be critical in the creation or maintenance of these spaces.

This could mean pushing for non-discriminatory practices in the workplace or gender-neutral bathrooms in public spaces. This could mean respecting pronouns and correcting people when they misgender someone.

Allies are in a position to push and influence policy changes and cultural shifts by participating in or organizing inclusivity training sessions, workshops, or discussions in order to encourage respect and understanding of the very real oppression faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.

Similar to supporting and creating safe spaces, allies can show support by respecting spaces that currently exist as exclusively queer. This does not mean that allies are unwelcome in these places, but understanding that some things are not necessarily meant for you, can actually help the queer community continue to celebrate from within and grow stronger in its unique cultural expressions.

There may be people, for example, who feel unsafe expressing themselves in the presence of straight people. Allies need to understand that while they may not be the problem, individuals who look and live like them definitely are. It is not always easy to recognize an ally at first glance. Sometimes advocating for a space to exist, without having to be a part of it, too, can make a huge difference.

Solidarity in Activism

Allies play a valuable role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, lending their voices to calls for legislative changes and protections, joining protests, and general public advocacy.

In many ways, queer individuals will always dominate the queer rights movement. It is queer individuals and not necessarily straight allies, that should be determining what it is the community wants/needs. But without buy-in from those outside, it can be difficult for LGBQ+ people to advance the cause to the targeted finish line.

What has come to be known as PRIDE, can trace its origins to the Stonewall Riots in 1969. An act of protest against police raids and police brutality inflicted on queer bodies. Today, it is an international celebration marked by rainbow flags and parades in cities big and small. This is the perfect example of something that began as a response from the LGBTQ+ community and blossomed into a celebration of love in all its forms that is observed and attended by allies, too.

While PRIDE certainly has its detractors and the rainbow washing and corporate takeover of many PRIDE events is problematic at best, the unfortunate reality is that policymakers seldom listen to the minority. And if they do listen, it’s hard to get widespread legislative support when others don’t see or understand the issue. Allies can help round up the numbers, taking LGBTQ+ rights and protections from a fringe or niche social issue to center stage!

Reflection and Growth

The reality is, many heterosexual people don’t take time to consider the queer experience beyond being entertained by queer culture, saying the right things without also taking action, or, on the flip side, reacting with fear, hatred, and distrust.

True allyship involves continual reflection and growth. The more we understand, the more things may seem to change shape. The language around queer issues may change and involve. More importantly, how society views the issue may evolve and force individuals both inside and outside of the queer community to reconsider their beliefs and understandings.

Recognizing one’s own privileges and biases is never a bad thing. Ignorance and hatred grow in the dark. Shining light on these internal conversations is the first step in addressing them and doing the work to mitigate the disparities that exist in the social hierarchy.

Similarly, allies must be open to feedback and willing to learn from their mistakes. It is easy to say or do the wrong thing, especially when you really just want to help. But what you may consider helpful, may be hurtful. Listening, really listening, to queer individuals when they inform you of a misstep is an incredibly valuable part of allyship.

Remember, learning and evolution are never complete. The LGBTQ+ community encompasses an incredibly wide range of people, with an incredibly wide range of experiences. Allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes and previous ways of thinking is one of the best ways to move forward.

Learn and Grow with Hunky Tops

Allies are integral in supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Vocal, well-informed, active participation in this allyship can help combat discrimination and advance more widespread understanding.

Hunky Tops is a queer-owned business and we strongly believe in advancing inclusivity. Beyond designing apparel that encourages genuine self-expression, we aim to create an online community space where individuals can grow, learn, and feel seen. We encourage you to visit our blog regularly for entertaining and informative content about LGBTQ+ culture and the issues impacting the community.

Follow Hunky Tops on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for even more queer-friendly, community-building, content!

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