On Being an Ally

In today's society, it's very common to see folks who are apart of the LGTBQ+ community. But for these people, coming out to their family, friends, coworkers, etc., was probably not an easy thing to do. As a straight person, I will never fully understand what it means to be apart of the LGTBQ+ community, but I do know that every day these people still face discrimination. Could you imagine being discriminated against for who you are? Contrary to (some peoples') popular belief, your sexual orientation or gender are not a choice ( https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx ) and (https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx), yet there are still people who discriminate against these people. Many people hide who they are for years because they are afraid of coming out due to the fear of being bullied, harassed, or being discriminated against in their daily lives. Although we did take a huge step as a country in 2015 when same-sex marriage became legal, there are still awful things that happen to those who identify as LGBTQ+- Harvard even did a survey on it! You can read up on it if  you're interested at the link provided: https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/94/2017/11/NPR-RWJF-HSPH-Discrimination-LGBTQ-Final-Report.pdf

It's important to be there and support people you may know who are apart of the LGBTQ+ community. Even the littlest support goes a long way. The easiest way to start is to show your acceptance and make them feel like they are safe being an LGBTQ+ individual. Again, start with the small things! Ask them how you can support them- you're probably not an expert on issues they face, ask them what's important to them! Find resources and read up on them to understand what being LGTBQ+ individual means so you can be fully supportive. Have courage in supporting your LGBTQ+ peers, speak up if you see them being bullied or discriminated against. Be reassuring with them, explain to them that them coming out to as a LGBTQ+ person will not change your feelings towards them. It's really all about understanding what it means to be LGBTQ+ in America and other countries as well, and being there for your peers when they need you to be.