5 Ways to Support Your Local LGBTQ Community
The LGBTQ community has just emerged from a dark period. The Trump Administration spent years rolling back rights and protections equality advocates fought and even died for.
But even with a more progressive administration in place, this is no time for complacency. Anti-LGBTQ legislators are working harder than ever at the state level to continue the Trump Administration’s ugly agenda.
Protecting the rights of our LGBTQ family is a marathon, not a sprint. Beyond signing petitions and attending your local Pride parades, here’s how to support the LGBTQ community where you live:
1: Educate yourself about the issues LGBTQ people face.
From poverty to workplace discrimination, LGBTQ people often face more adversity than their straight counterparts.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees are more likely to report being fired from a job or denied a position than their straight counterparts.
In police encounters, LGBTQ people of color often fare the worst. Queer Black and Latinx respondents were much more likely than other races to be physically searched and harassed by the police, according to a report but Lambda Legal.
Being a good ally means educating yourself about the adversities LGBTQ people face every day.
2: Offer financial support for LGBT youth.
An estimated 40% of homeless youth in the US are LGBTQ. Many end up with no place to go after being disowned by their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Money often means the difference between a safe space to sleep and frightening nights on the street for queer youth.
You can make a difference through direct financial support or by giving to charities.
Crowdfunding is one of the most popular and effective ways to give. Search GoFundMe or other crowdfunding sites for queer financial support initiatives. To make an impact in your community, consider donating to local homeless LGBTQ youth shelters.
3: Help make your workplace more inclusive.
Work environments can range from unwelcoming to outright hostile for LGBTQ people. In 2019, nearly 53% of LGBT people reported that discrimination negatively affected their work environment. Roughly 1 in 10 reported having left a job because of an unwelcoming work environment.
Thankfully, things are improving for LGBTQ people in the workplace. In a monumental decision last summer, the US Supreme Court ruled that businesses can’t fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
But legal discrimination and inclusivity are different things. You can help ensure your workplace is safe and welcoming for LGBTQ coworkers by:
Insisting your company create anti-discrimination policies and enforce them consistently and fairly
Talking to your HR person about implementing gender-inclusive restrooms
Encouraging your company to create an affinity group for LGBTQ employees
Insisting that managers receive diversity and inclusion training
Suggesting your company expand its mission statement to include passages about equality and diversity
Calling out microaggressions and report discriminatory or hostile behavior against LGBTQ employees when you see it
4: Become a mentor.
Supporting members of marginalized groups is one of the most impactful things you can do. Becoming a mentor can help counter the rampant bullying so many LGBTQ students endure at school.
More than 74% of LGBTQ students have reported being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, 55% have been harassed because of their gender expression, and nearly half have experienced cyberbullying. Worst of all, 61% of LGBTQ students who reported being bullied said school staff did nothing.
As a mentor, you can act as a lifeline for an LGBTQ youth. Your support can help uplift them when they need it most.
5: Support the Equality Act.
In February, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Equality Act, but it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
The Equality Act would expand federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, jury service, and federally funded health, education, and other programs. It would also protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in public places and spaces.
You can help bycalling on your senator to pass the Equality Act and supporting pro-LGBTQ legislation in your state.