Becoming a Supportive Ally for the LGBTQIA+ Community in Today’s World 

It is important for every individual to feel empowered in a community. Being an ally is essential in fostering an inclusive environment for everyone, including the LGBTQIA+ community. But the real question is: how do we become good allies in this society? 

Being a good ally is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning, self-reflection, and action. These are a few steps that I firmly believe could help you become one.

Reflect on Your Background and Educate Yourself

Acknowledging your background is the first aspect of being a supportive ally. Considering your background may bring you certain advantages that others might not have. So, don’t feel guilty or ashamed of who you are. Instead, use it as a way to raise awareness and make a positive impact on the queer community.  Supportive allyship also begins with knowledge of the challenges and experiences of the queer community. Invest time in educating yourself on matters related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. This might be keeping up with LGBTQIA+ thought leaders, reading books, attending workshops, or listening to podcasts from members of the community. Doing so will make you better prepared to support your peers and advocate for meaningful change. Not to mention, education also helps you create a more inclusive environment  by assisting you in avoiding unintentional harm and microaggressions.  In the professional sphere, especially for PRSSA members, having open conversations with PRSA mentors, fellow PRSSA members, and industry leaders can also help shape a more inclusive, welcoming environment.

Communicate and Comprehend

Knowing how to communicate with the LGBTQIA+ community using inclusive and respectful language is extremely necessary in our daily lives. However, it is also important to comprehend the conversations. Go beyond listening and seek to understand the deeper context of what is being shared. This involves asking meaningful questions, showing genuine interest, and creating opportunities for open discussions about queer-related issues in our society. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, so don’t be afraid if you happen to make them. You should view these mistakes as chances to gain new perspectives. So, apologize sincerely when you make mistakes and encourage members of the community to provide feedback to those who may be unaware of how their words or actions impact the community.

Take Action, Lead by Example and Build a Supportive Network

Actions speak louder than words. So, be the change now! Set a good example to inspire others to do the same by demonstrating inclusive behavior every day. Build a supportive network by immersing yourself in an environment with other allies and advocates. Focus on the small steps that create big change so that you can easily achieve goals in supporting the LGBTQIA+ or queer  community. This could include seeking mentorship with PRSA members who are queer or in the LGBTQIA+ community, advocating for inclusive policies in your Chapters or on your campus, and participating in creating changes in current resources at your college or workplace. Work within your community to share resources, amplify impact, and hold each other accountable. 

Being an ally who supports the LGBTQIA+ community, or any community in today’s society, requires ongoing education, inner reflection and proactive action. Remember, allyship is not just about supporting others; it is about creating a world where everyone, including yourself, feels valued and respected. Now is the best time to make the changes happen! Setting an example, building a network where you and your community feel comfortable sharing opinions and committing to this process of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community to make difference in our society.  

Uyen Ngo, a senior at Purdue University, is pursuing dual majors in public relations and sales management. Vietnamese by birth, her strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion motivates her to be involved as Vice President of Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (BEDI) for the academic year 2024-2025. Uyen is genuinely interested in connecting with individuals and learning from their experiences. She aspires to bring her PR background, contribute to creating an inclusive environment, and share her knowledge with the upcoming generation. Feel free to chat with her on her LinkedIn.

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