Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact of LGBTQ+ community members locally, nationally and internationally.
We believe that dignity and belonging are core human values, and that all people deserve to lead lives full of joy. We envision a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive and feel safe to be who they are. At Southwest Initiative Foundation, we are listening and learning about how to be a good ally — to stand up for and support our southwest Minnesota community members who identify as LGBTQ+ and work to build belonging with everyone who calls the region home. Following are some ideas we’re thinking about that could be helpful to you too.
- Know where your biases are. If you aren’t sure, a place to start is taking the Implicit Association Test online. It was created by Project Implicit, a nonprofit collaborative of researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition.
- Help set the tone of an inclusive environment by making allyship visible and normalize gender neutral language and gender respectful conversations. Some things you can do include sharing your pronouns when you introduce yourself and including them on your social media accounts.
- Model an openness to learning and understanding other perspectives, respecting boundaries and disclosures, even if you disagree.
- Take ownership of your learning rather than relying on those who identify as LGBTQ+ to educate you.
- While LGBTQ+ is commonly used in reference to pride month, there are different identities beyond what’s been mentioned here. People may have a preferred way to describe their own identity. It’s OK to ask, and if they share with you, that’s the identity you should use.
- Mistakes happen, such as using the wrong name or pronouns. When this happens simply correct your mistake right away and move on.
- Don’t expect anyone to “out” themselves to you or anyone else. Even if someone has been open about their LGBTQ+ identity, each disclosure is their personal choice.
- If you lead a business or organization, review your applications, job descriptions and dress codes. Are they gender neutral? Is there gender-neutral bathroom space in your building? You could also consider hosting an LGBTQ+ in-service learning opportunity for your team. If you are unsure where to start, OutFront Minnesota provides education and training statewide from professional staff covering an array of topics related to LGBTQ+ equity.
Neighbors who build their allyship skills help others understand the importance of equity, acceptance and mutual respect.