Pride 2023: LGBTQ+ allies are needed now more than ever


Shaun Proulx is the host of The Shaun Proulx Show, now in its 10th season on SiriusXM Canada Talks 167.

If you identify as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, you’re needed now more than ever. 

Until recently, your role in our community has probably been easy. Progress here in Canada and the US has been often abundant and flowing. You have queer people you love in your lives, and, of course, you’ve supported them. You’ve cheered on our right to live and love and be the fullest expression of our most authentic selves; you’ve championed our relationships – those weddings! – you’ve shared in the joy of our expanding families, and, of course, you have marched and danced with us at Pride. 

Now we need more from you.

Despite – and because of – all the advances queer people have made in recent years, attacks on us, across North America, are now on a fast rise.

The Don’t Say Gay bill is among hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed this year alone, including bills blocking of trans-affirming health care. Queer themed books have been banned; drag queen storytimes have been met with fear-mongering protesters – some even wearing Nazi garb – Pride festivals have been threatened or even canceled; the limiting of gender expression is being fostered, and it was only last December that 5 people were killed and 17 injured when a gunman opened fire in a queer nightclub in Colorado. Look too at the rainbow flag controversy sullying school boards everywhere right now, and that mother making news recently, shown on video encouraging kids to stomp on a rainbow flag. We queer people are “goomers,” we are “pedophiles” – it just goes on and on, and is all so disgusting and sad. 

And all of it leads to one end result: hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, which rose a shocking 60% between 2019 and 2021, according to Statistics Canada. (And those are just crimes actually reported to the police. Countless more go unreported.)

Hate crimes and acts of prejudice leave many queer individuals feeling marginalized, fearful, and isolated. The damaging effects of such hate extend beyond immediate harm, impacting mental health, self-worth, and overall well-being. 

This is why your role as ally is pivotal. Here are some ways in which you can become the best ally possible for the LGBTQ+ community right now:

  • A good ally recognizes that the burden of combating discrimination should not fall solely on the shoulders of those directly affected. 
  • Allyship starts with education. Educate yourself about the experiences, struggles, and accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community, those you know. Seek out resources, read books and articles, watch documentaries, and listen to personal stories. Understanding the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals is crucial in combating misinformation and stereotypes.
  • Allies also have a responsibility to amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals. This can be done by actively sharing and promoting their stories, achievements, and concerns. Use your platform and privilege to raise awareness and advocate for change.
  • Allies must confront prejudice and discrimination whenever and wherever it occurs.
  • Speak out against homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic comments and behaviors. Engage in constructive conversations and address misconceptions and stereotypes. By challenging prejudiced attitudes, allies can help shift societal norms and foster a more inclusive environment.
  • Stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ organizations and contribute to their initiatives.
  • Donate, volunteer, or offer your skills to support their work in advancing equality, providing resources, and creating safe spaces. Remember that allyship is not a one-time act but an ongoing commitment.
  • Whether at home, work, or in social settings, allies can play a significant role in fostering inclusive spaces. Encourage diversity training, advocate for gender-neutral restrooms, and challenge discriminatory policies. Be a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and help create an environment where everyone feels seen, respected, and celebrated.

With your help as a true ally, we can stand up against hate, and create a world where each of us is embraced and valued for who we are. Until then, and as always, Happy Pride! And thank you for your allyship.