‘Allyship is critical and essential’ to keep moving forward

·3 min read

You’ve propped up a rainbow flag and proudly changed your social media handles to reflect your love of all things #Pride2021. But have you gone the extra step to become an advocate, too?

“Allyship is critical and essential to our movement,” says GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “We can’t do it without our allies.”

During Yahoo’s Pride Evolution, a one-hour discussion on the celebration of Pride, Ellis says supporting the LGBTQ community by becoming an advocate should be a year-round thing, not just in the month of June. And no act of support is too small.

“Everything from protesting and marching to stopping bullying online,” she says. “So they have a real opportunity to change hearts and minds.”

It makes sense to take action now, with a recent Gallup poll finding that 5.6% of U.S. adults identify as LGBT — a number that jumped 20% from 2017.

“There are so many 18-24 year olds that are coming out as transgender, that are coming out as gender non-binary,” Ellis says. “Those identities are in the crosshairs right now. We’re seeing it legislatively, right? The attacks that we're seeing on the trans community. On a daily basis. Both physically and policy-wise. And so we need allies right now to galvanize.”

Ellis goes on to explain why it’s important that allies educate themselves on the legislation that threatens LGBTQ rights.

“There are so many allies, and I think what they think. I know what they think because we have the research. 90% of Americans think that we have just as equal rights as everybody else, but we know they don’t,” she says, adding, “the Equality Act is a critical piece of legislation that will get us to parade with the rest of the community, with the rest of society. and I think it’s really important that we see allies educate themselves on it, and stand up and call their senators about it.”

It’s time for LGBTQ allies to be advocates, too.

GLAAD is also asking for companies to do their part and join its Visibility Project, a campaign aimed at including LGBTQ in their advertising and marketing, and standing up against anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, added that this is an especially critical time to show support to the LGBTQ community.

“Our community, right now, is facing multiple threats across the country,” he says. “And I think we need advocates for equality than ever before.”

He suggests that people look at allyship through the lens of advocacy. Being an ally is great, but being an advocate is even better.

“We need allies to think of themselves as advocates,” he explains. “We all benefit when people are treated equally and we all have to be invested in supporting equality.”

The number one takeaway he’d like everyone to embrace for #Pride2021?

“None of us are free until all of us are free.”

Cho felt like an outsider, says gender is infinite

Comedian Margaret Cho has always been a fierce advocate for LGBTQ. She says her sexuality path has been a fluid one.

“I came out a lesbian first,” she says. “I had long denim shorts, knee-length shorts, and a bike chain, and big boots, and I wouldn’t stop coming out. And then people were like, would you please stop coming out? And then I realized that I actually wanted to have more or different experiences, so then I came out as straight, and then I came out as bi. So now, I’m a fruit.”

It’s a colorful world we’re living in. Let’s embrace it.

Lindsay Martell is a freelance writer for Yahoo

You can watch the full, one hour Pride Evolution special on Thursday, June 10th at 3pm est.

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