It’s Pride Month: a time to celebrate the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community, and to continue to push for true equality and inclusion.
This year’s Pride Month theme is ‘The fight continues’ – and there is still much more to be done.
In Australia, LGBTQIA+ youth are twice as likely to experience homelessness as their peers. Most report family rejection and family breakdown as the main reasons for being unable to live at home.
Creating safe, affirming communities and youth-centric settings is essential to young people’s development and security. Building on the strengths and factors that protect LGBTQIA+ young people from risks is also vital, including connection to caring adults, family and caregiver acceptance, and a sense of belonging.
Here are five ways you can stand in solidarity with LGBTQIA+ youth.
LGBTQIA+ youth are the experts in their own lives. They know what they need, how they feel, and how you can best offer support and be their ally. Listen with genuine care and interest.
2. Speak up
Research has shown LGBTQIA+ youth experience bullying at significantly higher rates than their peers, and the consequences, such as increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicide, can be devastating.
When you speak up about discrimination or harassment, it educates others, lets them know their words and behaviours are unacceptable, and encourages others to speak up as well.
3. Educate yourself
Being an ally requires an understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community and the issues they face. It’s also essential to consider your own biases, assumptions and prejudices.
LGBTQIA+ people can’t always carry the responsibility of explaining their identity to others, so educate yourself on the issues and stay informed. Do some research, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to be honest about what you don’t know.
4. Respect pronouns
For many transgender and non-binary people, pronouns are an important way of expressing and affirming their gender identity. Using correct pronouns also creates an environment of safety and respect.
It’s important not to make assumptions about a person’s pronouns. When you meet someone, ask them for their pronouns and introduce yourself with your pronouns, too. Some examples are he/him, she/her and they/them.
5. Support equality
Fundamental human rights issues persist for LGBTQIA+ people in Australia, and around the world. Support non-discrimination laws and policies that protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people and promote inclusion and equality across our society and in every area of life.
If you’re looking for more information about LGBTQIA+ young people, visit Minus 18.