You can have a good-ass time while making a difference.
I’m not straight. But if you are– and you’re wanting to level up your ally game –chances are you’ve heard two messages: 1) don’t ask queer folx to educate you, and 2) donate your money.
But beyond that it’s just you, Google, and your good intentions. So if you’re having imposter syndrome about being an ally, here’s a guide to getting your Pride vibes on, inside and out.
If you only have 5 minutes . . .
It’s basic but covers the crucial stuff. Plus who doesn’t love cute animation and Wanda Sykes’ voice?
Now, let’s dig into the good stuff.
Ally Pride Tip #1: Buy Trans Art.
One of the most delightful ways to be an activist is to buy art from queer artists. Your home will be all the cuter for it! My top pick is the Trans Day Of Resilience website, which features select QTBIPOC art activists that your life truly can’t be complete without. While the downloadable art on their website is free, what’s even more awesome is purchasing prints and commissions from the artists themselves. And fangirling out on their social medes.
Ally Pride Tip #2: Geek out on history!
LGBTQ+ history is massively heartening, badass, and important- and you can learn about it from your couch. While drinking Prosecco and showing that charcuterie plate who’s boss, if that’s how you roll.
These are my top three video recommendations on queer history. (My apologies that it’s very American. We’ll have a Eurocentric follow-up article soon!)
Everyone must – MUST! — know about Marsha P. Johnson, the Black trans woman who worked tirelessly as a housing and LGBTQ+ rights activist, and who just so happened to start the Pride Movement. The DVD can be purchased through DVD Planet Store.
Leather culture is an integral part of gay history in America. This film offers a look into the development of motorcycle clubs to protect and the culture and rights of gay men in the 1950s, continuing to this day. The DVD is available for purchase through Amazon.
This film has some of the most intense and intimate, publicly available footage from the old school Dyke and Lesbian leather scene of San Fransisco. You can also preorder the DVD from Target!
Ally Pride Tip #3 – Discuss with other straight folks.
Hot tip: straight folks can benefit from analyzing their sexual orientation and gender roles. Chances are, your gender was assigned to you at birth and you had no say in the matter. How do you feel about it? How do you feel about the various gender roles you have been conditioned to perform? Is there anything about your sexuality that you’d like to explore, and can you do so within the bounds of your current relationships?
Gathering with other allies can be a constructive way of educating yourself while receiving peer feedback and support. You might consider reading the children’s comic book Sex Is A Funny Word by Cory Silverberg. Reflect as a group on what it would have been like to receive inclusive sex, gender, disability, and body positivity education as a child. How would you like to approach such topics with your real or hypothetical children?
This is also a great time to express support for any bisexual folks in your social circle.
Many bi folks experience erasure, being identified as straight due to the gender of their primary partner. They typically get very little recognition of the queer aspect of their identity. You might watch this episode of ‘Ask Your Lesbian Moms’, listen to their stories, or remind them that they are loved and seen.
Ally Pride Tip #4: Enjoy queer media!
There is so much more to queer folx than persecution, pronouns, and therapy. Our media is fucking delightful! And it doesn’t stop at David Bowie or Dolly Parton either. Besides the tsunami of drag queen music that is revolutionizing everything everywhere . . .
. . . this is the first time in history when gay media has been widely celebrated on the mainstream boob tube.
My personal favorite shows are:
The most inclusive drag reality show also is the goriest. The challenges are truly horrifying, and when contestants get voted off, they go out in style with their very own slasher-style murder scene.
This cartoon is everything! The main character is a motherless, chubby, and awkward child who’s raised by personified gemstone superheroes. Sophisticated perspectives on gender, love, and power are explored in whimsical–and sometimes heartbreaking–storylines.
While earlier seasons have their problematic moments, recent seasons (especially season 13 OMG) are fabulous. Plus if you have any gay people in your life you need to know who Alaska Thunderfuck and Monét X Change are, out of respect.
A refreshing and über-queer spin on the 1985 animated series. At the center is a steadfast lesbian romance between Adora and Catra which is intertwined with their tumultuous hero/villain dynamic. Several side characters are also in queer relationships, just about all of them are gender non-conforming, and more than one is non-binary. Watch now.
Ally Pride Tip #5: Provide childcare for queer parents.
Offer to babysit or hire a nanny so your fave queer parents can have a date night!
Ally Pride Tip #6: Give the best presents!
Gift a membership to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. The recipient of your gift will receive access a robust offering of events curated specifically for Black trans folx.
Treat your favorite leather person to a gift certificate from Ocelotls TradePost. This TwoSpirit Indigenous Romani mixed artist makes all of his leather gear by hand in Seattle. I’ve purchased a number of custom hoods and harnesses from him and been delighted every time (and not just because he’s a personal friend.)
Gift your favorite lesbian issue number 6 of FIST Zine. This issue features 16 BIPOC contributors and all proceeds will be donated to the Free Ashley Diamond campaign.
Ally Pride Tip #7: Set an example for your loved ones.
Email a group love letter to your friends and family. Theme: “I want everyone in our family/community to feel safe coming out. If anyone in our circle thinks they might be queer, I have their back 100%. You’re welcome to talk to me if you like, but either way please know that I love you unconditionally and will always support you being your authentic self.” A gesture such as this can do wonders for increasing the comfort and ease with which your loved ones come out. It can also have a huge impact on the future generations of your family.
Pride month is here, and for many of us, it’s our favorite time of year (besides Halloween.) Instead of worrying about saying something offensive or wondering why hanging a rainbow flag outside your house might feel like an empty gesture, I hope you take the time to explore these suggestions and find your personal sense of celebration.