By Coco Jepsen
With June being pride month, there is a spotlight highlighting those in the LGBTQ+ community for 30 days. While that encapsulates many, there are others who do not identify as a member of this community, but rather an ally of it. To ally is defined as “ to unite or form a connection or relation between'' by The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, but how can we do this in our community, and how can we carry this through the other 11 months of the year? We can:
Inclusive language is a small step that can do wonders making those in the LGBTQ+ community feel less isolated. When college kids return home for the summers, don’t ask if they have a boy/girlfriend specifically, but rather a partner, or if they’ve met anyone special. Making these assumptions of others in our vernacular may be habitual and entirely unintentional, but carry a certain weight to those in the LGBTQ+ community, or those who are unsure if they’re a part of that community.
Humans, however, are creatures of habit. It takes time and education for us to relearn vocabulary and terminology. This is normal and won’t happen overnight, but we can be proactive learners through curiosity and asking questions. As the director of the Dennis L. Carlson Sexuality Education Studies Center at Miami University, Megan Kuykendoll, points out, “It’s not every queer person’s job to explain how to use every pronoun or term”.
We must take it upon ourselves to use resources such as www.thetrevorproject.org and pflag.org to educate ourselves and others as a starting point. Learning is a process and comes with experiences we have, and won’t be seamless. Professor Kuykendoll explains this learning process as, “not about being 100% right, it’s acknowledging when you messed up and doing better”.