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By: Felix Howton

Pride month is more than just parades; it celebrates one's ability to be true to themselves and serves as a way to remember the work of early activists in the LGBTQ+ community who fought on the behalf of their rights and the rights of the queer millions who came after them.

Recognized across both my country and the world, pride month has become a truly global phenomenon. As I drive through our nation's capital, I see pride flags hanging off lamp posts and displayed in front of almost every restaurant or bar I pass by. But to me, and many others, pride means something more. As the proud son of two lesbian mothers, I often find myself wondering what I can do to show my support for two of the people I love most.

I grew up hearing about instances of discrimination they faced and sometimes even saw it perpetrated against them in front of me. Even with growing support, prejudice and bigotry directed towards the LGBTQ+ community still exists as a major issue. So for those who want to be an ally but don’t know how, here are three essential steps to actively approach allyship.

  1. First, start with a genuine curiosity about the issues facing the community. If impure intentions fuel your desire to be an ally, anything you do may result in more harm than good.

  1. The second step, introspection, can often be the hardest. Attempt to identify and understand the biases and preconceptions you yourself possess regarding the LGBTQ+ community, and acknowledge that these beliefs may have a negative effect on its members.

  1. Lastly, authentically engage with the community in ways that make a difference. This can be as simple as providing a queer friend with empathetic support, calling out or correcting others' homophobic or transphobic microaggressions when you witness them, or supporting organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights advocacy.

While there are countless ways to be a good ally, curiosity, introspection, and engagement compose the three fundamental first steps I encourage everyone to take this pride month.

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