June is recognized as LGBT Pride month. In a world with so much hate, we need to learn to love more unconditionally. First, what is an ally?
According to GLSEN, “an ally is an individual who speaks out and stands up for a person or group that is targeted and discriminated against. An ally works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatized, discriminated against or treated unfairly.”
Here are some ways to be an ally to your LGBTQ friends and family members.
- Be open-minded
Even though you might not agree with their lifestyle, they are still people. By closing yourself off, you are cutting yourself from a world that can teach so many great lessons and diversity. By having an open mind, you can learn lessons from the LGBTQ community that you would have a hard time learning anywhere else. Plus, if you are in need of a confidence boost, just hang out with the community and watch as they help you.
- Get educated
Sexuality and identity can be confusing to those working to be an ally or even a decent human, but just because you don’t understand it does not mean that it isn’t real. If you ask, LGBTQ individuals are willing to teach. But do not just expect them to teach you everything, you will still need to go out and research. This includes knowing people’s preferred pronouns.
- Stand up for LGBTQ people
Being an ally means to actually be an ally. It means not just to love those who are LGBTQ, but also supporting policies and organizations. Donate money to charities such as Mormon Building Bridges, whose goal is to “build a bridge” between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the LGBTQ community. Some ways you can stand up for the LGBTQ community are by standing up to people who make homophobic jokes, learning the issues they face and learning to include everyone.
- Be supportive
It can be scary to be in a world where you are hated because of something you cannot control. Your friend is not different from the person you knew before they came out. Everyone needs someone in their corner, especially if their family turned against them. Imagine how hard it would be to have everyone you loved turn against you for something you cannot control. A friend told me about an experience he had when a companion came out to him. He described the pain he saw on his companion’s face and after telling me the story, he said, “why would someone choose to be in this much pain?”
- Love the sinner, not the sin
In life, we are all sinners. Jesus Christ has been the only one without sin. We should not be seeing anyone as a sin or a sinner but as a person. Each LGBTQ individual is a person and a child of God, no matter the choices they make. They deserve our love and support.
In the song “Jesus Said Love Everyone,” it says “Jesus said love ev’ryone; Treat them kindly too.”
So let’s love everyone and try to be like Jesus.