How to be an ally to the LGBT community after the Pulse shooting
How to be an ally to the LGBT community after the Pulse shooting:
- Listen. Don’t interrupt. Share what we say on social media. Amplify our voices.
- Don’t use this as a platform. Every time a cis straight person posts the death count followed by “vote for ___” I feel sick. Even if you think these politicians will prevent these violent crimes, when you do this, you’re using lost lives as political rhetoric. Find a new way to talk about the issues without exploiting my community.
- Don’t use this as an excuse to be racist or Islamophobic. The shooter was a terrorist, but he would be a terrorist no matter what race or religion he was. However, if he was a white man, particularly a Christian, the media wouldn’t have called him a terrorist. Blaming this on radical Islam is a way for non-Muslim straight people to say “I would never do this” and never examine their own homophobic behaviors and ideas. It also hurts Muslims who are subjected to violent hate crimes for their religion, and it especially hurts Muslims in the LGBT community.
- Don’t blame mental illness. People with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than to commit it. This is just another scapegoat, and you’re hurting mentally ill people, especially in the LGBT community, by doing this.
- Focus on the victims. They are most important.
- Before you post on social media, ask yourself a few questions. Are you just using clichés like “Fight hate with love”? What images are you sharing? Are they pictures of you with a rainbow flag or you and your fellow cis and straight partner at Pride? Are they images of hurt or dead people? None of these things are helpful. At best, it feels like you just want points for being an “ally,” and at worst, it feels like you’re rubbing our pain in our faces.
- Acknowledge the factor that race plays in this crime. It was Latin night at Pulse, and most of the victims were black and/or Latinx. This is important for my fellow white LGBT people to remember too, and while we can obviously speak about the shooting, we should remember to put our black and Latinx brothers and sisters first.
- Find out how you can help. Donate blood or money, help with a vigil, or make cards for victims and their families. Share this with other allies. Share helplines for those of us struggling to cope. Show special care to the LGBT people you love. Don’t force them to talk about it if they don’t want to.
- Apologize when you mess up.
- Before you say this was unthinkable, think. Why is it unthinkable to you and not to us? Read up on LGBT history. Examine your own actions. Look at the media you’re consuming. Speak up when you see others being hateful toward us. Fight for non-discrimination policies in your home city and state.
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