Now that marriage equality has passed, many people think that LGBTQ equality has been achieved. But anyone who knows anything about queer rights in America knows that isn’t the case. If you have a friend who doesn’t quite get it, there are ways to explain LGBTQ equality to them, if they care to learn.
If you’re a queer person yourself, you shouldn’t have to do all the hard work. Feel free to point them to some resources, but it shouldn’t be on you to defend your humanity and right to live. If you’re a straight ally, you get to do some more heavy lifting when it comes to explaining why we have a long way to go in order to achieve LGBTQ equality.
In a country where, according to a 2014 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, more than 90 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims are people of color, 72 percent of those victims are trans women, and more than two-thirds are trans women of color, this violence is a major issue. Not only that, LGBTQ youth are at high risk for homelessness and suicide, and LGBTQ people of color have the highest rates of poverty of any group in the United States. It’s clear that we have a long way to go, so here are some ways you can explain that to your friends.
1Have A Conversation
Change starts with one-on-one conversations that happen in a compassionate way. So the first tactic of offense for teaching your friends about LGBTQ rights and equality is to talk to them. It’s really that simple.
2Buy Them A Book
Humanizing folks is a great way to not only view groups of people differently, but to help people to understand how systemic issues affect individual people. Books can do just that. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez, and The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie are great places to start.
3Send Them Links
Another way for your friends to pave the way to their own education is to start reading links, by subscribing to publications like Black Girl Dangerous or Autostraddle. It’s queerness from queer people, instead of LGBTQ equality from a heterosexual person’s perspective.
4Take Them To See An LGBTQ Speaker
If you live near a college or university, there are often speakers being booked that are open to the community. Laverne Cox has been touring the country lately, as has CeCe MacDonald.
5Show Them A Movie
6Come Out Yourself
Studies have shown that people who know someone that is gay are more than twice as likely to support equal rights. So, if you happen to be queer, let your friend know.
7Remind Them That They Don’t Have To Get It
People don’t have to understand something to support it. Because, at the end of the day, LGBTQ equality is about human rights, and it isn’t about straight people even a little bit. So they don’t have to get it, but they really should support it, because no one’s humanity deserves to be up for debate.