Be an LGBTQ ally: Know and value your role
Author: Janani Sampath
We often want to make an impact through our work—for society or humanity. There is one common dream for most of us— to make a difference in the world.
One way to do it is to be an ally for the underrepresented.
While we intend to make a change, we often underestimate the impact we can make, assuming that we have to go through the ordeal to change the situation.
LGBTQ+ inclusion in society and the workplace, there is a need for concerted efforts for everyone to come together to make a difference. And for that, the intent and action are more important than anything else.
Here are some ways to be an LGBTQ ally-
Listen to know: When you do not have the lived experience, listening to stories of discrimination, hurdles and roadblocks can open a world of understanding. Listening also means doing so without judging or assuming. You may or may not know the importance of pronouns for the LGBTQ+, and it is always better to ask about the significance.
Educate yourself: Listening forms a part of your learning experience. If you are hungry to know more, reading is one way to do it. Read up on how problems vary or are similar and the solutions. Look up information about the queer movements across the globe and the role individuals played in them to decipher your role.
Show in action: An intent is as good as an idea, but the real impact is your action. Talk about the underrepresented, in this case, LGBTQ, and the need to empower them with equitable and fair opportunities. Mobilize action from others within your capacity—like getting your management to have platforms for people like you to discuss, and call for Pride Month observances to spread the word.
Be careful about confidentiality: The best thing for an ally is to be trusted by the community. In this bid, you will find many opening up about their travails. Be mindful about keeping the information they give you confidential. It is the most important aspect—value the trust the underrepresented place in you.
Being an ally to an underrepresented group comes with a huge responsibility. Value and understand your role to rise to the occasion—to be an effective ally.