Empowering Change: Practical Steps for Effective Advocacy in Support of LGBTQ+ Individuals

Empowering Change: Practical Steps for Effective Advocacy in Support of LGBTQ+ Individuals
Photo Courtesy: Our Bible App

Advocacy involves raising awareness, influencing policy, and supporting the rights of suppressed causes or oppressed communities. By comprehending the challenges faced by those who are forcibly silenced and standing up for them, we contribute to an inclusive environment. 

One such marginalized community is the LGBTQ+, with approximately 1 in 10 adults identifying as such across 30 countries, emphasizing the significance of addressing their unique struggles.

Despite the expansion of this community, discrimination persists in their personal lives, workplaces, and public spaces, even affecting access to crucial healthcare. In 2020, over 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ identifying Americans faced some form of discrimination, and a startling 90% of transgender workers reported workplace harassment or mistreatment. 

These stark numbers underscore the immediate necessity for effective advocacy. In this context, allies and advocates play a role in establishing supportive environments.

Here are the practical steps for effective advocacy, each rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Educate Yourself

Understanding the history of the LGBTQ+ community forms the foundation for informed and respectful advocacy. Invest time in learning about the various identities, changes in definitions, and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ groups to clear the misunderstanding associated with them.

Make Your Pronouns Apparent

Normalize the use of pronouns by publicly displaying your own, such as in email signatures, virtual meetings, or social media accounts. It also helps colleagues, including transgender and non-binary individuals, feel acknowledged and respected.

Be a Good Listener

By asking open-ended questions and being receptive to feedback, you can help these individuals free their bottled-up emotions and thoughts. Genuinely listening to them proves to be a powerful tool for developing an understanding and empathy.

Use Inclusive Communication

Include diverse images and progressive language that represents and welcomes various identities. Language is a powerful tool; this visibility will foster a sense of belonging for the LGBTQ+ community.

Foster Inclusive Spaces:

Create an environment where everyone feels welcome. Put rules in place at work, school, and in your community that prohibit people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Such measures help create a safe and inclusive space for everyone.

Engage with Decision-Makers:

Engage with local and national representatives to express your support for LGBTQ+ rights. Voice your concerns and expectations for policy changes that promote inclusivity and equality.

Be Mindful of Privacy

While being supportive of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, it’s crucial to respect the boundaries to build trust. Do not disclose their personal information or gender identity without their consent.

Raise Awareness:

Use social media resources responsibly to impart knowledge and educate the masses about LGBTQ+ individuals. Create songs and videos, and write books or articles sharing accurate information, statistics, and stories highlighting the community’s diversity and struggles. 

Address Prejudice

Standing up for LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights whenever you encounter microaggressions or derogatory comments is an essential part of advocacy. Correct your peers about mistreatments, and avoid speaking on behalf of LGBTQ+ individuals, as it may imply a lack of capability on their part.

Support LGBTQ+ Businesses:

Consider supporting LGBTQ+-owned and operated ventures. When you spend your hard-earned dollars at inclusive businesses, you’re contributing to their economic equality, helping these communities be empowered. 

Join Advocacy Events

Break stereotypes and display pride in supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Participate in advocacy events and collaborate with organizations that work for their welfare. These involvements significantly contribute to building a sense of community and fostering acceptance.

Advocating for LGBTQ+ individuals isn’t something you do alone; it’s a group effort that demands dedication, understanding, and ongoing learning. Putting these strategies into practice, supported by evidence and expert advice, advocates play a crucial role in bringing positive change. In this comprehensive effort, we call on all to contribute to shaping an inclusive, tolerant society where everyone is acknowledged, respected, and valued.

Crystal Cheatham, the Founder & CEO of Our Bible App, is an entrepreneur focusing on progressive and inclusive Christian perspectives. With an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Crystal is known for her work as an LGBTQ rights activist and has collaborated with organizations like Soulforce and REAP (Religious Exemption Accountability Project). In 2018, she launched Our Bible App, offering a unique community and daily devotionals for individuals navigating their faith journey. Crystal is an accomplished author who wrote books such as “The Deconstructionists’ Playbook” and “Queer Hands of God.” Her commitment to providing an alternative, healing space in the tech world is evident in her app. She is recognized for her impact through awards and grants, including the WeWork Labs Black Owned Business Grant and the Lenfest Knight Foundation Fellowship. Crystal’s dedication to inclusivity shines through her writings, podcasts, and entrepreneurial contributions to catalyze liberal spiritual discourse.

 

Published by: Khy Talara

(Ambassador)

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