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How to be a good ally

Thursday, May 16, 2019

National News

Today it’s Pink Shirt Day and also the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – two causes that go hand in hand as they share the same spirit and intentions  – to stand up to bullying and celebrate diversity.

We love that Pink Shirt Day came about because two students decided to take a stand against bullies who were harassing a new student at their school for wearing a pink shirt by organising a large number of students to show up at school the next day all wearing pink shirts.

This kind of show of solidarity is immensely powerful – not only by showing the person being bullied that they have allies, but also by sending a strong message that the majority have zero tolerance for bullying.

We look forward to when this day becomes redundant; when prejudiced attitudes will become a thing of the past, when all identities and sexual orientations will be commonly accepted, diversity will be celebrated by all, and everyone can enjoy equal human rights.

But until that day comes, we will continue to mark this day by showing our support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary and intersex friends who face bullying, discrimination, violence and hatred on a daily basis. We want them to know that we will always be their ally whenever they need one.

We encourage you to join us in being good ally to the LGBTQI community too - here are our top tips for how:

  • Educate yourself – learn about the experiences of discrimination and hate that people in the LGBTQI community face, to understand the challenges they deal with in their everyday lives and how this makes them feel. Seek out their stories online, and if you have someone from the LGBTQI community in your network talk to them about their experiences and LISTEN.
  • Take note of the language you use - particularly popular terms and stereotypes that may cause offense and further perpetuate discrimination, such as “that’s so gay”, and make an effort to cut these out of your conversations. If someone calls you out, take it on board, learn and try to change bad habits.
  • Next, call out those closest to you when they use derogatory or hateful terms. Let them know it is not acceptable and educate them about why. You can have a powerful influence on those closest to you, because you know them, you know how to best communicate with them and you can have an ongoing influence on them.
  • Be alert to hateful and discriminatory language online and challenge it; don’t let it slip through the cracks unnoticed.
  • Stand up to hateful, bullying behaviour in your community – if a situation could be potentially dangerous encourage others to stand with you to intervene, or call for help.
  • Use a day like today to proudly show your support – wear a pink t-shirt or change your social media profile picture to a pride flag.

Together we can educate, influence and inspire acceptance, love and equal rights for all and make discrimination a thing of the past.

 

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