Why Performative Allyship is Harmful and How to Actually Support the LGBTQIA+ Community

Performative allyship in the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t necessarily new. However, it’s gained more attention lately as people are starting to recognize how everyone from big brands to individuals can end up doing more harm than good. 

This type of allyship occurs when people with any type of privilege claim solidarity with a cause or community. However, they don’t typically practice what they preach. 

If you or someone you know speaks up as an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community but doesn’t take any action, they’re not doing anything more than performing. They’re not helping the community. 

It’s disingenuous and can do a lot of damage to groups that are already marginalized. It’s talking the talk without walking the walk, often to avoid being scrutinized or looked down upon. 

No one should desire to fall within this category. Unfortunately, it’s easier to fall into the trap of performing than you might think. 

So, what can you do to support the LGBTQIA+ community? What can you do to be an ally without the performance aspect? 

What Can You Do to Offer Support?

Instead of “talking the talk,” choose to take action. If you really want to be a supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community, start by not labeling yourself. 

It’s good to be an ally. It’s good to consider yourself an ally. However, you don’t need to tell people “I’m an ally.” That takes attention away from the people who need it and puts it on you. It’s a little narcissistic in nature, and even saying the words out loud can put you in a more performance-based mindset than you might realize.

Instead, let your actions label you. Let what you do portray who you are. 

It’s okay to start small. Speak up when you hear someone saying something homophobic. Attend protests, rallies, and parades. Don’t be afraid to celebrate the highs with your LGBTQIA+ friends and be there for them during difficult times. 

On a larger scale, do your research. Donate to local organizations that support the community or national groups like the ACLU. You should be willing to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone to help your friends in the community. 

Stay Informed

Another important way to be a true ally and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community is to regularly ask family members and friends within that community how you can help.

They could be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and putting up a brave front more than you realize. It’s not uncommon for people in the community to deal with everything from discrimination to fear, only to be silent about it more often than not. 

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of performative allyship. If you want to be a real pillar of support for the LGBTQIA+ community, take action. Educate yourself, ask questions, and make a commitment to do what you think is right, rather than just talking about it. 

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