In my last blog, I discussed the history of Pride and and how the movement spawned by the Stonewall Riots has led to over 50 years of queer resistance.This resistance has been fueled by Black and Indigenous queer People of Color who have refused to let their voices be silenced.
However, the burden of LGBTQ+ equity and justice cannot be the sole burden of BIPOC. If you are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, you might be wondering how you can best support the community.
Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is not a passive act. It is a choice you must make everyday. You must choose to learn and unlearn the biases that you hold. That is why I prefer the term “advocate” over “ally.” Allyship is passive. It posits that your personal beliefs are somehow revolutionary on their own.
Allyship may have had its place in the cultural zeitgeist years ago when even the mention of queerness was enough to cause fear. However, in this day and age, what LGBTQ+ need now are advocates. We need someone to stand with us against the systemic homophobia and transphobia inherent in society.
This does not mean that advocates are members of the community or have license to speak over queer voices. It does mean that advocates should remember not to center themselves in the conversation or the struggle.
Advocacy means listening to queer voices. It means making a conscious effort to unpack your own biases. It means not standing for bigotry and hatred, even in spaces where there are no queer people.
Advocacy is an act and it requires you to be willing to be uncomfortable. It requires you to internalize the struggles of LGBTQ+ people and to actively work to alleviate their suffering. It is not about being a savior, but about working with LGBTQ+ activists to ensure an equitable and just society.