• June is LGBTQ+ pride month, which is meant to celebrate and achieve equal justice and opportunity for the community.
  • You can show your support this month (and year-round) by serving as an LGBTQ+ ally: first, be open-minded and don’t shy away from asking questions.
  • Make it clear that you support the LGBTQ+ people in your life, even if you need some time to absorb all of the information that is presented to you.
  • Comfort and reassure your LGBTQ+ loved ones that you love, care for, and support them no matter what.
  • Make the effort to use proper pronouns. Ask the individual what they identify as and then use the correct identifiers when you address them.
  • Finally, stay informed on LGBTQ+ issues and stand up to discrimination: do your research on current policies, support movements that call for LGBTQ+ rights, and dispel inappropriate remarks that demean the community.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning Pride Month (LGBTQ+ Pride Month) is celebrated annually throughout the month of June—its mission being to achieve equal justice and opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community. Today, LGBTQ+ Pride Month events include pride parades and parties, workshops, concerts, and other events to celebrate and raise awareness for this community. Additionally, memorials are held for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

If you don’t identify as an LGBTQ+ individual, you might be wondering how you can best celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month as well as how you can show your support for the community. In addition to participating or getting involved in the celebrations, your efforts are best served in being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community; or, in other words, advocating for these individuals who are often discriminated against or treated unfairly. Here are 5 important ways to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community:

1. Be open-minded and ask questions.

If you don’t know a whole lot about the LGBTQ+ community—from what this terminology actually means to the struggles these individuals face—that’s okay, just be honest about it. Acknowledge that you aren’t an expert and be open to learning more. Ask your LGBTQ+ friend or family member what you can do to better understand them. Find out what’s important, what’s hard, what’s real. Show that you’re interested and want to learn more. If you don’t feel comfortable asking a friend or family member, Human Rights Campaign has plenty of resources that can help you acquire the knowledge you’re looking for!

2. Show your support whenever and however you can.

These don’t have to be overwhelming grand gestures—instead, subtle signs can get the job done. Remember, a little goes a long way. For example, you can show your support for the LGBTQ+ community by simply wearing a rainbow shirt during pride month. Also, don’t be afraid to defend your loved one if someone else is bullying them for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Keep in mind that those who have just come out often feel nervous or hesitant to talk about their experience or their feelings. You can make them feel more comfortable by showing signs of your support.

3. Listen.

On that note, if/when someone comes out to you, give them your full attention. Then, reassure them that their sexual orientation or gender identity does not change your feelings toward them. That said, if it’ll take a little bit of time for you to absorb this new information, that’s completely okay, too. Just remember to be honest. Let them know that while you love and respect them just the same, you might need some time to take it all in. Also, open yourself to any concerns or feedback they have regarding your response to their coming out. Maintaining open communication is important and beneficial for all parties involved.

4. Use proper pronouns.

While it’s true that actions speak louder than words, it’s still important that you use proper pronouns. As we just touched on, coming out is often a scary, nerve-racking experience. You can help to ease your loved one’s nerves and show them proper respect by asking how they identify. Then, use the correct identifiers when you address them. Your friend or family member will appreciate it more than you know.

5. Stay informed.

Finally, nothing shows love, care, and support for those in the LGBTQ+ community like staying on top of LGBTQ+ issues and doing your part to stand up against the discrimination they face on a daily basis. You can accomplish this mission by doing your research on current policies, disputing inappropriate “humor” that actually demeans LGBTQ+ individuals, and supporting businesses or figures that call for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity.

These tips are simple, but they go a long way in showing your support for the LGBTQ+ community and furthering the efforts to achieve equal justice and opportunity for these individuals.

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