Supporting Your LGBTQ+ Friends and Family: A Guide to Being an Ally

Jun 4, 2024

In a world that often marginalizes LGBTQ+ individuals, being a supportive friend or family member can make a profound difference. Here are practical and heartfelt ways to stand by your LGBTQ+ loved ones, ensuring they feel valued, respected, and loved.

  1. Educate Yourself

Knowledge is a powerful tool. Take the time to educate yourself about LGBTQ+ issues, history, and terminology. Understanding the experiences and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals can help you become a more empathetic and informed ally. There are numerous resources available online, including websites like GLAAD, PFLAG, and The Trevor Project, which offer comprehensive information and support.

  1. Listen and Learn

One of the most impactful ways to support your LGBTQ+ friends and family is to listen. Create a safe space for them to share their experiences and feelings without judgment. Active listening shows that you value their perspective and are willing to understand their journey. Avoid interrupting or offering unsolicited advice; sometimes, simply being there to listen is enough.

  1. Use Inclusive Language

Language matters. Use inclusive and respectful language when referring to LGBTQ+ individuals. This includes using their chosen names and pronouns. If you’re unsure about someone’s pronouns, it’s okay to ask politely. Normalizing the use of inclusive language in everyday conversations helps create a more accepting environment.

  1. Stand Up Against Discrimination

Be prepared to stand up against discrimination and prejudice. If you witness homophobic or transphobic behavior, speak out. This can be challenging, but it’s essential to show that such behavior is unacceptable. Whether it’s correcting a derogatory comment or challenging discriminatory policies, your actions can help foster a more inclusive society.

  1. Celebrate Their Identity

Celebrate your LGBTQ+ loved ones for who they are. Acknowledge significant milestones in their lives, such as coming out, transitioning, or anniversaries. Participating in LGBTQ+ events, like Pride parades, with your friends and family can also be a joyous way to show your support and solidarity.

  1. Be Mindful of Your Privilege

Recognize your own privilege and use it to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Privilege can come in many forms, such as being cisgender, heterosexual, or part of a majority group. Use your position to amplify LGBTQ+ voices and support initiatives that promote equality and justice.

  1. Offer Support in Practical Ways

Support can also be practical. This might mean accompanying your friend to a doctor’s appointment, helping them find LGBTQ+-friendly resources, or simply being there during tough times. Small acts of kindness and support can make a significant difference in their lives.

  1. Educate Others

Spread awareness and educate others about LGBTQ+ issues. Whether it’s through casual conversations, social media, or community involvement, your efforts can help reduce ignorance and foster a more inclusive environment. Sharing educational resources and encouraging open discussions can be powerful tools for change.

  1. Respect Their Journey

Everyone’s journey is unique. Respect where your LGBTQ+ loved ones are in their journey and understand that their experiences and feelings may evolve over time. Offer continuous support and reassurance, showing that your love and acceptance are unwavering.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Supporting others can be emotionally taxing, so it’s important to take care of your own well-being too. Ensure you have a support system and seek guidance if needed. Remember, being an ally is a continuous process, and it’s okay to seek help along the way.

Being an ally to your LGBTQ+ friends and family is a journey of empathy, education, and action. Your support can provide the strength and encouragement they need to navigate a world that can sometimes be unkind. By standing by their side and advocating for their rights, you contribute to a more inclusive and loving world for everyone.

Together, we can make a difference—one supportive act at a time.

Struggling with LGBTQ+ issues? Visit our Mental Health Urgent Care at 1301 Riverside Avenue in Fort Collins, no appointment needed, walk-ins ALWAYS welcome, Monday thru Friday 9 am to 5 pm, closed holidays. 

To learn more about our Mental Health Urgent Care in Fort Collins, visit livehealth.org/foco