Pride Month–the month celebrating LGBTQ+ liberation and rights–ended June 30, but supporting the Pride community is a year-round effort. Part of that support comes from being a better ally to LGBTQ+ employees at your place of work.
Allyship is the process of supporting and building trust with a marginalized person or group of people. It also means using your capacity to lift up the voices of these groups. The end goal is to build consistent trust and accountability from people who need inclusivity in spaces they often don’t get that.
These marginalized groups can be based on sex, religion, race, disability, gender identity, cultural background, and much more. When we’re talking about allyship for the LGBTQ+ community, though, we’re talking about supporting groups who are marginalized based on sexuality and gender identity.
As those who aren’t part of the Pride community wonder how to be better allies, who better to ask than people are part of the community?
So we asked the question…
How can those who want to be supportive allies do so without identifying as part of the Pride community?
Here are the answers from eight Insight Global employees.
Farah Ramji, Tier I Tech, Service Desk
“I love this question, because it is so important. They would be creating a safe space for us behind closed doors and in public. An example of allyship could be taking a stand and sticking up for someone in the community. Another example could be asking questions and learning from past experiences. Truly connecting with people within the LGBTQIA+ community is the best way to be an advocate.”
Paige Mattox, Portfolio Coordinator — MSD
“A great way to show up as a supportive ally is to normalize giving your pronouns and not assume the pronouns of others! It can be as easy as ,“Hi, I’m John, I use he/him pronouns,” or adding them to your email signature. This simple practice can foster a space for your trans/non-binary/GNC (gender non-conforming) colleagues to feel safe showing up authentically.”
Jo King, DE&I Analyst
“Allyship doesn’t have to be complex. It starts with listening, educating yourself, and then developing habits of inclusion in our daily lives. When we do this, we impact our spheres of influence and spark conversation that would not have taken place before. Holding ourselves and others accountable to speaking up–even when it’s uncomfortable–is a step we all can take to becoming an effective ally.”
Efrain Baldiris, Account Manager
“Be open to learning more about the LGBTQIA+ journey and its history. Knowing more about someone’s experience enables you to support and empathize with them on a deeper level.”
Tyler Manfrin, Performance Operations Coordinator — MSD
“To be a supportive ally, just lead with love! Our community is united by the love we have for ourselves and more importantly each other, and that’s all we ask for in return. Our world is filled with things that bring us down, so just be a king human and remember that love will always keep us together.
Ella Pe, Account Manager & Pride ENRG President
“Continue to educate yourself. Engage in conversations that push your perspective, and intentionally practice what you learn. Be open and welcoming to all and, put simply: be kind.”
Sydnie Sapp, Recruiter
“Those who want to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community can support us by truly showing up for us. Defending us when no one is watching. Celebrating our love and joy. Fighting for us when we face adversity. Uplifting our voices. And most importantly, honoring the history and meaning of pride and everything it took for us to get to where we are today.”
Mitchell Pralle, Professional Recruiter
“As an ally, you don’t need to be able to empathize with the LGTBQIA+ community to sympathize with us. Every person, regardless of their sexuality, knows what it’s like to feel written off, doubted, or judged for parts of their identity. A supportive ally is someone who leads with curiosity and never judgement. A supportive ally celebrates our individuality and is quick to stand up for us in times of injustice. A supportive ally can cause a world of impact. An impact that can save someone’s life.”
There are a couple of themes that carry across each of these answers. They include:
- Educate yourself. Learning about how a community has been marginalized is a great first step to becoming a better ally. Learn about the Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Listen to what your LGBTQ+ colleagues are saying affects them negatively and positively. Learn how the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalized over time. Do research on your own time and don’t expect LGBTQ+ coworkers to provide all the education for you.
- Lead with love. You can be a better ally when you are coming from the right place–a place of love, caring, and compassion. As Tyler said, the Pride community is united with love, so offer that in return.
- Be open. In becoming a better ally, you will likely encounter new ways of interacting with people. This can be in the form of using different pronouns or names, or you may discover someone’s true personality once they feel comfortable around you. Create and maintain a judgement-free zone so people can continue to be themselves, and make sure that judgement-free zone extends to yourself.
- Stand up. If you see someone doing or saying something that is hurtful to someone else, say something. If it feels wrong, or if you know it’s wrong, stick up for the person. This is the most upfront way to be an ally. You may teach another person who was doing something distasteful a new way of thinking in the process.
Allyship doesn’t happen overnight. Small actions add up to big changes. No one is a perfect ally, and people make mistakes. But if you’re coming from the right place and working on creating new habits, you can do your best to make the workplace a more inclusive and accepting space for all.