Second year Media and Communications student Matt has written today’s guest blog which is full of advice about how to be an ally to the LGBT community.
This month we’ve been celebrating LGBT History month on campus. What better time to focus on how you can get involved, and help promote a more inclusive and safe space on campus!
But where can you start?
Learn how to be an ally to the community. Whether you’re a member of the community yourself, or you feel passionately about promoting equality for all students, regardless of sexuality and gender identity, it is the perfect place to start!
Below are five top tips for becoming a great ally!
1. Consider your own views
This could be uncomfortable at first and you may find yourself questioning prejudices and biases of your own, but it’s a vital place to start in terms of welcoming change.
2. Be willing to learn
Being a student at Coventry, you’re surrounded by resources and equipped with the know-how of carrying out extensive research. Building your knowledge on LGBT issues is a great way to reduce ignorance and stigma and there are thousands of resources available at the click of a button.
www.stonewall.org.uk and www.lgbtconsortium.org.uk are great places to look if you’re stuck for a starting point!
3. Watch your language!
Making jokes at the expense of LGBT individuals is harmful. Consider how you’d feel being singled out for an aspect of your identity you couldn’t change. Try to challenge others on their language when you feel it is safe to do so. Often people are unaware of the consequences of their words, and it only takes one person to challenge this.
4. Don’t assume the sexuality and gender of those around you
It is important not to assume somebody’s sexuality or gender identity. Assuming everybody around you is heterosexual and cisgender can make those seeking support feel isolated. Likewise, respect everyone’s journey is different and do not rush people you assume to be LGBT to “come out”. Coming out is different for everyone and not something everyone may feel comfortable doing.
5. Communication is key
Listen carefully to your LGBT friends, family and co-workers. Having someone to confide in is a valuable support. Be open-minded and remember that this is a sensitive subject. Let your LGBT peers know that you’re here for them, sometimes knowing support is there is far more helpful than you might think!