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Becoming Visible Allies

PFLAGers – just like nearly everyone across the U.S. – are likely to still be recovering from the range of emotions they felt after this month’s election.

Regardless of who you supported and how you feel about the outcomes, there is one fact that we can all agree upon: The need for more vocal and visible allies is more significant than ever, particularly in the face of anti-LGBTQ voices who have been emboldened by hateful rhetoric that became a prominent theme during the campaign season.

Some of the early efforts have been big and meaningful. We’ve seen student walk outs, protests and demonstrations, a safety pin campaign, and other visibility efforts meant to help allies show their solidarity with vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Looking for one more way for you to rise to greater visibility than ever before? Straight for Equality’s “I’m an ally because…” campaign is one more tool that can provide you and your chapter with a simple way to help people elevate their supportive voices. It helps create visibility for allies everywhere and offers countless reasons why people are behaving inclusively.

But that’s just one way to signal your support. In this time of reflection and rebuilding, commit to inviting, educating, and engaging new people who may find themselves interested in issues that were not on their radars just a couple of months ago.

Of course, we’ve got a few suggestions on how to get started…

Create space for new allies to learn more.

Plan (or share information about) community events that will help educate new allies about the lived realities of people who are LGBT in your area. Host a speaker, organize a panel, show a documentary, or connect people with an event being hosted by one of your coalition partners.

Help new allies learn to tell their stories.

Encourage them to think about what motivates them to speak up in solidarity with the LGBTQ communities, what their own journeys to being a visible and vocal ally have looked like, and where their voice might have the most significant impact.

Ask new allies to think about where they spend.

Provide them with tools like the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index to make purchasing decisions. Share articles about companies that take a public stand against anti-LGBTQ legislation on your chapter’s social media.

Remind new allies to make their year-end gifts.

Many organizations have seen an influx of donations since the election to fund the work that will likely be necessary over the next four years. Ask new allies to support organizations locally (like your chapter!) and nationally (like PFLAG!). Read the article in this issue of the Voice for different ways you can support PFLAG.

PFLAGers have been on the frontlines, making allies out of adversaries, for over 40 years. It is our job to remain committed to sending our message: You are loved. You are valued. And PFLAG is here.

Have questions? Need support in your efforts? Reach out to Jean-Marie Navetta (jnavetta@pflag.org or (202) 467-8180 x213) or Jamie Henkel (jhenkel@pflag.org or (202) 467-8180 ext. 210) to learn more!