Being Better, Year-long LGBTQ+ Allies
Every June, people around the country celebrate Pride Month as a way to support and show solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community. However, there are simple and meaningful things we can do to support the community beyond this month. Kaitlyn Thomas, a rising senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who identifies as LGBTQ+, shares ways in which we can be year-long allies and advocates.
Be Friendly and Inclusive
Thomas says one of the most important things people can do to be better allies is to be nice to and respect one another.
“Just be friendly,” says Thomas. “An ally is someone who is kind, willing to be your friend when no one else is.” She says being an advocate also means being more educated about LGBTQ+ and understanding what the community faces. As a native of Chicago, Illinois, Thomas says coming to North Carolina and NC State University was a bit of a culture shock.
“I do feel lonely when I’m here, both in North Carolina and the college,” Thomas shares. “I don’t feel as alone being in animal science. A lot of my friends from the department are allies. I don’t mean to stereotype, but students in some of the other male-dominated majors can make you feel isolated.” Thomas says it might not be their intent since they may have never been exposed to the LGBTQ+ community.
Thomas reminds folks to be accepting of others. Just because Thomas didn’t grow up on a farm doesn’t mean she should shy away from a career in the animal agriculture industry.
“I feel like I’m always having to prove myself to my peers… but I can still do the same things as them. We’re all different, yet we’re all the same,” says Thomas.
She also encourages people to visit the GLBT Center on campus to learn more about being a better ally and advocate. Thomas says it’s usually the same small community of people or those who identify as LGBTQ+ who go to the center or participate in LGBTQ+ events and clubs.
“We want more people who don’t identify to come,” she says. “That’s always been a struggle, to get allies to come.”
Don’t Tolerate Discrimination
Like many underrepresented groups, there is a lack of people who are willing to call out issues of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
“I shouldn’t have to be the one to say it always. If someone does something or says something that is a bit offensive, jump in and tell them that,” says Thomas. She also says she shouldn’t have to fight for common courtesy or respect.
“It seems like the only people who say anything are members of the community and having allies, or other people help, is really important,” she adds.
Provide Financial Support
One can also advocate for NC State’s LGBTQ+ community by making a gift to the GLBT Center Fund, which provides personal and professional development opportunities for students, faculty and staff. The Spitz Dream NC State GLBT Center Endowment provides emergency aid to GLBT-identified students and can be used for tuition, health insurance, food, housing and more.
Other Educational Resources:
This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.