Whether you are an LGBTQ person or a straight ally, you can make a difference by taking a stand. Make a start by committing to resisting homophobia at any level of your life. Speak up against homophobia when you witness it. Consider joining a pro-LGBTQ group, and donating time or money to support causes you care about. Finally, learn some common arguments and how to refute them so you are better equipped to refute the arguments of homophobic acquaintances.
Method 1 of 3:Acting Against Homophobia
1Speak up when you witness homophobia. Whenever safe and possible, speak up in response to homophobic statements or actions you witness. If you hear someone using slurs or calling a bad thing"gay,"speak up. If you hear someone being bashed, defend them.
If it is a friend, family member, or close acquaintance who is exhibiting homophobia, appeal to your connection."Karen, I think we both value tolerance and kindness towards all people. The way you addressed my gay friend last week made it sound like you didn't want him around; can you explain what was going on?"
If it is a stranger, simply state your beliefs:"I find that language very offensive."
2Report hostility and discrimination. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against or harassed by a business owner, a store employee, a boss, a teacher, or someone else who represents an institution, don't let it rest. Know what rights are protected under your government so you can take legal action if necessary. If the harassment takes place at work, talk to HR and your supervisor, and file a complaint if nothing happens.
Report homophobic words and actions that you experience in a place of business or other organization. If someone at a place of business says something offensive, report them to a higher up.
If a business or public institution in your neighborhood is engaging in homophobic slurs or discriminatory practices, report them to an organization such as the Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
If the person or people who engaged in the harassment or discrimination is the highest on the totem pole, take them to the court of public opinion: consider organizing a protest, writing a letter to a local paper, or passing out informative flyers about the homophobia.
3Be open about your own identity. Do not hide your own sexual orientation or gender identity. Insofar as you feel safe and comfortable doing so, be open about your love life, and introduce your partner to others. Tell your acquaintances how you prefer to be identified.
Even if you are in a heterosexual partnership or generally pass as straight, consider speaking up when questions of identity or attraction arise.
If a coworker asks if you have a boyfriend, for instance, you might say,"I actually date men and women, but yes, I do have a boyfriend."
Coming out is a personal decision and depends on many factors. Make sure you are safe and in a position to fend for yourself before you come out to somebody homophobic.
4Vote for pro-LGBTQ candidates only. Take a hard line when voting: do not vote for anyone who is not explicitly pro-LGBTQ. If you don't know where a politician stands, call their team and ask, or look up their voting record.
Check out endorsements by LGBTQ organizations such as the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club: http://www.milkclub.org/endorsements2016
5Boycott homophobic institutions. Do not give your business or time to institutions that practice homophobic policies. Boycott institutions headed by leaders who donate to homophobic candidates. Don't enroll in classes at schools with anti-LGBTQ policies.
If you aren't sure where an institution stands, check for explicit language about equality and minority protections on their website.
Look for administratively-recognized LGBTQ student groups at schools.
6Confront your own biases. Biases aren't always overt. Sometimes, despite a person's best intentions, they still have implicit biases. When a person has an implicit bias, they don't consciously believe they hold a bias, but their actions suggest otherwise. If you feel uncomfortable when you see a same sex couple or treat LGBTQ people differently than straight people, you may have an implicit bias.
Make a list of times you've displayed an implicit bias. Then, make a plan to change your behavior in these situations. If you tend to move away from same sex couples when you see them in public, try to smile at them or strike up a conversation in the future.
Surround yourself with people and media that are accepting of LGBTQ people to break down your biases.
Method 2 of 3:Giving to the Community
1Donate to organizations that fight homophobia. If you have money to spare, take a stand by giving to organizations that support LGBTQ causes. You can donate to a large institution like the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, or Lambda Legal. You might also consider donating to smaller local organizations, such as your local fund for queer youth, LGBTQ health center, or Centerlink community center.
Help homeless LGBTQ youth. Trans, gay, and bisexual youth are at far greater risk of homelessness than heterosexual youth. Consider donating your time or money to a homeless shelter for youth, whether or not it is specifically for queer youth.
2Volunteer for causes that benefit LGBTQ people. Donate your time to political campaigns for gay-friendly candidates. Volunteer your special skills and your extra time to LGBTQ charities and organizations.Trustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
If you are highly skilled in any area, such as medicine, teaching, legal work, or administration, offer your services to small organizations that would not be able to afford to hire you.
Volunteer with a suicide prevention hotline. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia can cause isolation and suffering that lead to a high rate of suicide among LGBTQ individuals, especially youth. You can complete a simple training and be on-call for LGBTQ people who are suffering from suicidal ideation.
3Join a local LGBTQ group, or start your own. If you belong to a church or a school, you may find organizations within your institution. If not, search for organizations in your area, ask your friends, and check out a few meetings. Start an affinity group if you don't find anything.
Consider taking on a personal role in the struggle for justice.
Think about what communities you belong to. With whom can you have the most productive dialogue? For instance, if you come from a Christian background, you may do the most good by holding information sessions at churches about LGBTQ issues.
Method 3 of 3:Countering Homophobic Rhetoric
1Defend LGBTQ families. Many people wrongly believe that same-sex parents are unfit to raise children. This is untrue: all serious research has shown that same-sex parents are as fit as opposite-sex parents to provide loving, supportive homes for children. Children in LGBTQ families are as well-adjusted and happy as children in heterosexual two-parent homes.Trustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
The myth that gay people are more prone to child molestation than straight people is untrue.
2Remind your friends that orientation is inherent. Some people believe that being gay is a choice. Others say it is an illness related to childhood trauma. Both of these statements are untrue. Scientists affirm that a person's sexual orientation is inherent and cannot be chosen or"changed"by another.
Sexual orientation is formed from a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors, and may be in place before a child is even born.
While being LGBTQ can raise a person's risk for traumatic experiences, it doesn't work the other way around. Trauma doesn't turn people gay, but homophobia can raise a person's risk of trauma.
You might say to your friend,"You say that 'these people are sick,"but there's nothing unhealthy about being gay. It's a natural form of human sexuality."
3Counter the"slippery slope"argument. A common logical fallacy is that if one previously taboo practice achieves mainstream acceptance, every other taboo will also become mainstream. This is untrue: while some social conventions are prone to change, others, especially those rooted in scientific fact, tend to remain.
A common homophobic statement is,"If we allow people to be gay, what's next? Bestiality? Pedophilia?"You can counter this by saying,"There is no relationship between gay love and bestiality or pedophilia. Same-gender relationships are consensual bonds between adults. Bestiality and pedophilia are nonconsensual acts of sexual violence against the powerless."
4Defend yourself with facts. Ultimately, homophobic rhetoric returns to logical fallacies and easily debunked myths. The best thing you can do is get the facts. Research statements by legitimate organizations such as the American Psychological Association for scientific evidence that being LGBTQ is natural and healthy.
Then someone you know says something like,"Nobody is born gay,"you can say,"Actually, many scientists believe our sexual orientation is in place before we were born, and the American Psychological Association has proven that sexuality is not a choice."
Look out for hate groups disguised as legitimate organizations, such as the fringe group American College of Pediatrics.
5Share the stories of LGBTQ friends. When your peers say that being gay is a choice or that gay people are morally corrupt, share the experiences of LGBTQ friends or acquaintances that counter these assertions. Sometimes, a personal story can be even more powerful than hard facts.
Say something like, “Actually, being gay isn't a choice. One of my friends is gay, and he struggled with his sexuality for years because he was afraid that his family wouldn't accept him. He suffered from severe mental health problems and risked alienating himself from his family by coming out. Why would he choose that?”
If your LGBTQ friends want privacy, keep the stories anonymous.