Here we are in the last week of June, which for most people might represent the official start of summer. For others it's a very special time of year which aims to not only shed light on injustices, but also celebrates the lives and culture of a marginalized group of people. Yasss hunty, it's Pride Month and I think it's time for you and I to have a kiki!
OK... that was a little extra, but in all realness let's talk about the LGBTQ community. Recently Keith Powers shared some thoughts during an interview with Hollywood Unlocked that did not sit well with the LGBTQ community. When asked about speculation surrounding his private life, the New Edition Story star said the most outlandish rumor he had heard was that he was bisexual. Following this statement, he said that he doesn’t believe men can be bisexual.
It wasn't long before social media caught wind of the interview, which resulted in many fans voicing their feelings of contempt. This prompted Powers to issue an apology, which is what we like to see. Yes he made a mistake, but he seemed sincere when asking for forgiveness. Powers will definitely not be the last to offend the LGBTQ community and certainly wasn't the first.
Katy Perry upset what might be the majority of her fan base following her performance of "Bon Appetit" with Migos on SNL. The rap group reportedly refused to work with drag queens during their performance resulting in a Twitterstorm of disappointment.
Katy Perry wasn't as vocal as Keith Powers, but it seems she made an attempt at an unspoken apology by unfollowing Migos on instagram.
This shouldn't be news to you, but being under that umbrella isn't the easiest journey. From gaining acceptance and support from one's family and friends, to navigating everyday life, why do you think an LGBTQ person would choose this lifestyle? That was a trick question, and if you sat and thought about it for more than three seconds... Lord, let this article help you become a better ally!
Here are a five easy ways you support the LGBTQ community and avoid getting dragged:
This seems obvious but as someone striving to be an ally, the most important thing you can do is listen to as many voices of those you’re allying ourselves with as possible. Does this mean that because your gay best friend insists it's OK to call him "faggot" as a term of endearment mean it applies to all gays? Hell no! Use your judgment with this one. Listen to as many voices from the LGBTQ community that you can so that you can understand the core of a multitude of significant issues that affect the community. That brings me to the next tip.
Have courage and intervene when you hear anti-LGBTQ language or remarks being made. Don't accept this kind of behavior, in or out of the presence of a gay, trans, or queer person. Talking is never cool and creates a toxic environment that LGBTQ people don't feel welcome around.
Do your homework. Make a personal and intentional effort to explore what it means to become an ally to those who identify with being LGBTQ. Read essays and articles written by LGBTQ people about LGBTQ issues. Ask your LGBTQ friends (respectfully!) about their experiences and how you can be an ally to them without demanding any personal information they're not comfortable discussing.
Never assume a person's identity based on how they look, who they do or do not spend time with, or what others say about them. Only that person can tell you how they identify, and on their own time and terms. Don't force or rush people to come out. It's difficult enough and the best way to support is to be a good friend and create a safe space where no one feels attacked or ashamed for being who they are.
Last and definitely not least, take a good long look in the mirror. Confront yourself. What do you struggle with understanding about LGBTQ people? Is it same sex parents? Is it a woman transitioning to a man? No, these are not traditional ways of life, so understandably they probably don't feel normal to the average person. However, these are the ways of life for real people. People who have parents, siblings and children. Your bosses, your employees, your colleagues. Your family, your friends and your peers. Many gay people have to do this very thing when coming out. They have to look deep within themselves and confront their fears and often hatred towards themselves. It's not easy, but being honest with yourself is the only way you will grow as person. It's through growth and understanding that we can come to terms with being different and learn to coexist peacefully. So take some time to reflect on your own curiosities about LGBTQ people.
Thanks for being an ally and happy Pride Month!
(Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)