Now more than ever, showing support for oppressed and underrepresented communities is vital. No matter who you are, you can take a stand and start making the world better and safer for members of the LGBT+ spectrum. Here are four important ways you can show your support.
1. Listen Well
One of the most powerful abilities anyone has is the ability to listen and show empathy. If you know someone in the LGBT+ community, talk to them — check in on them once in a while and ask how they’re doing. If they’re dealing with personal issues, don’t be afraid to lend a listening ear and let them open up to you. Allowing someone to speak freely is a fantastic way to build trust and start chipping away at the stigma they are likely facing, and it only takes minutes of your day to make a huge impact in someone else’s life.
2. Educate Yourself
If you’re not on the LGBT+ spectrum, it may be harder for you to understand and connect with people who are. Take some time out of your day to learn about the history and lives of people within the community. Get to know your LGBT+ friends and family more, read up about social justice warriors, such as Mary Beth Maxwell, who have changed the world and educate yourself on the hardships this community faces. Doing so can give you a broad understanding of what life is like for someone on the spectrum, and it can arm you with the knowledge you need to be a better friend and supporter.
3. Speak Up
All too often, the LGBT+ community faces discrimination, ridicule and brutality. If you ever see an instance of someone being wrongfully targeted for their sexual preferences or gender identity, step in and speak up. Make it clear to the person that you support them and offer them help however they need it. If the situation is severe, you may be able to help by contacting local authorities, getting medical assistance or helping them get in touch with someone they can trust. Whatever you do, don’t be a bystander.
4. Offer a Safe Space
Safe spaces are designated areas where people do not have to worry about being judged, discriminated or harmed for who they are. If possible, make it known that your home is a safe space. You don’t need to do anything special or make any big changes — just let your LGBT+ friends and family members know that they’re safe with you. If you’re unable to offer your home as a safe space, you can still make people feel safer by staying with them in unwelcoming areas or situations. The best thing about safe spaces is that they can apply to anyone, so people from all backgrounds can come together in a secure, trusting environment.
There are countless ways you can show your support for the LGBT+ community, but the most important thing you can do is be accepting. Every person is different, but nobody deserves to be discriminated against for who they are.