How to be a Visible Ally to the LGBTQ+ Community

How to be a Visible Ally to the LGBTQ+ Community

June marks Pride Month; a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, stand up for equality and have an absolute ball as everyone comes together. 

Pride is a fun-filled celebration but it’s also a time to remember its origins, look back at how far we’ve come and acknowledge what we have yet to do.

Ahead of the Dublin Pride Parade, we spoke to Chris Rowan, Fundraising officer at BeLonG To. Chris speaks to us about how we can be visible allies throughout Pride Month and all year round.  

The Meaning of Pride

Although the meaning of Pride itself may be clear to most, many people may not be aware that the word is actually an acronym. 

PRIDE stands for Personal Rights in Defense and Education.

Pride Month originated in the US following the Stonewall uprising. This historical event was a series of marches and protests, occurring at the end of June 1969, in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar for LGBTQ+ people who came together at a time when laws against the community were still in place. 

Chris tells us that, in Ireland, the Pride Parade started as a protest and a memorial march for Declan Flynn, a 31-year-old man who was brutally killed in Fairview Park on September 10th, 1982. 

Declan was a son, brother and uncle. He is remembered by his friends and family as a big music lover and, in particular, a huge Elvis Presley fan. Following Declan Flynn’s killing, the LGBTQ+ community and allies marched from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park. 

This went on to become the Dublin Pride Parade we all know.

What is an Ally?

Chris explains “An ally is someone who stands with the LGBTQ+ community and believes that equality is for all and needs to be protected.”

You can be an ally for the LGBTQ+ people in your life, your family, friends and colleagues,” Chris says. “But you can also have a profound impact on people you’ve never even met, by showing your support for the community and speaking up for LGBTQ+ rights.

Why is it important that an ally makes themselves visible during Pride and all year round?

Although it’s important that our LGBTQ+ friends, family members and colleagues know that they are accepted, loved and supported, we can also be sending this message out to members of the LGBTQ+ community that we don’t know. 

Walking into an unfamiliar room, workplace or even getting on a bus as an LGBTQ+ person can often pose questions surrounding safety and acceptance. Being a visible ally can send a subtle message to this person to let them know that there is someone in this space that they are safe with and supported by, without ever having to speak a word to them. Think of it as a code that says ‘I’ve got your back if you need me.’ 

Explaining the importance of this visibility, Chris says “It’s important that LGBTQ+ people feel safe in society and know they are amongst people that support them, and they don’t just need this one month of the year. Pride is a wonderful time to celebrate and show our love for the community and it’s important that true allies are there all year round.”

How can we be visible allies? 

Chris shared some things we can do to make ourselves visible allies: 

  • Add your pronouns to your email signature or social media bio
  • Wear the rainbow colours, such as a pin on your jacket or bag.
  • Ask people what their pronouns are and share yours. Making this the norm creates an accepting and safe environment for everyone. 
  • Use the correct pronoun and name when speaking to someone and correct yourself if you get it wrong.
  • Use inclusive language.
  • Don’t avoid talking about LGBTQ+ issues, let people know you stand for equality.
  • Mark LGBTQ+ occasions at home, in the office or when meeting with friends. 
  • Challenge prejudice and discrimination when you see it or hear it.
  • Connect with the LGBTQ+ community.

From all at Gym+Coffee, we hope you have a fantastic Pride and continue to celebrate all year long.

Gym+Coffee is proud to be supporting both The Proud Trust and BeLonG To for the second year in a row.

For more information on our Marie x Gym+Coffee Tote Bags + Water Bottles, head here.