International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia: Three Ways You Can Help
On this International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT), we celebrate the diversity of the LGBTIQ community and celebrate its members’ identities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning people embody an array of identities and expressions that exist outside of the majority gender and/or sexual norms. To that end, we also acknowledge the violence and discrimination faced by these communities, and strive to dismantle personal biases and social, cultural, and economic systems that contribute to their oppression. Though it may seem overwhelming to put an end to systemic homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, there are numerous ways you can bring about change and relief to LGBTIQ people. Here are a few simply ways you can put your compassion into action:
Be inclusive with your words. Language matters — it’s how we convey our thoughts and build common ground between individuals and communities. Try to avoid broad generalizations about relationships and genders, especially when they skew towards heteronormative themes. When you speak to a member of the LGBTIQ community, be sure to accurately identify them as individuals. Don’t know how someone identifies or which pronouns they prefer? Just ask! We love it when someone makes an effort to know and respect us.
Check your privilege, then leverage it. Checking your privilege doesn’t mean feeling shame for being, say, straight or white. It means acknowledging the systems that have disproportionately elevated your opportunities to be seen and heard. (Have you ever watched a movie and noticed there are no people of color in it? Or remember when only men were allowed to run marathons? Stuff like that.) When you’re navigating this busy world, stop and notice if there’s a homogeny or dominating identity. Then ask yourself: Who’s being left out? Seek out minority voices and opinions — in the media, at work, in social settings — and amplify these voices.
Acknowledge intersections. For many LGBTIQ people, oppression doesn’t begin and end with gender and sexual phobias. Race, class, health, labor and immigration issues also deeply affect and disproportionately disenfranchise the LGBTIQ communities, so it’s important to examine these institutions together. Remember: when smashing phobias, you can also smash racism, sexism, classism… all of the systems that keep us apart.