7 ways to be an ally for your LGBTQ+ loved ones

By Sarah Kruger, MSW, LCSW

June is Pride Month to honor and celebrate how far the LGBTQ+ community has come and the progress made while acknowledging the current obstacles facing the LGBTQ+ community including harassment, discrimination, prejudice, civil and human rights issues, and a greater risk for mental health conditions. As an ally you have the opportunity to support your loved one by actively working toward solutions and creating an inclusive, equitable, and loving environment. Here are 7 ways you can be an ally to support your LGBTQ+ loved ones so they can be out loud and proud! 

  1. Listen

Create and hold space to listen to your loved one without judgment. Avoid interrogating or pressuring your loved one to explain everything that you don’t understand or what does not fit your expectations. Allow your loved one to feel heard and safe.

  1. Accept

Don’t question or challenge your loved one if they open up to you about their sexual orientation or gender identity. One of the most important messages to convey is your unconditional love and respect for them just as they are. Affirm their identity and use the pronouns they choose and align with. 

  1. Support

Communicate that you are there for them along their journey, especially if and when they are going through a difficult time. Engage with your loved one with presence, an open mind, and genuine interest about their experiences.

  1. Maintain trust and confidentiality 

Don’t “out” your loved one to others. It’s their story to tell and it’s imperative to honor what your loved one would like to keep confidential. If a loved one comes out to you, listen and offer your support in the ways they want to proceed. 

  1. Educate yourself 

Be aware of your own biases and privilege, and learn about the issues and the history of oppression that the LGBTQ+ community has faced and continues to face.

  1. Defy discrimination

Promote inclusivity by not assuming heterosexuality and instead using gender neutral terms, like partner, instead of boyfriend or girlfriend. Speak up and stand up if you witness discrimination, harrassment, or hear homophobic comments about the LGBTQ+ community. 

  1. Advocate 

Show up, participate, and contribute to community events that support the LGBTQ+ community. Use your vote and voice to support gay and trans rights. Support your loved one in accessing equitable and affirming medical and mental health resources and services. Therapists at The Center for Mindfulness & CBT are knowledgeable and affirming of LGBTQ+ individuals and their families, and will meet you where you are. 

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