In the United States, approximately 5.1 percent of adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. While there's still debate over the accuracy of census data, the fact remains that LGBT individuals are a minority. This means we need the help of LGBT allies if we are going to make equality for all a reality.
At Equality Vodka, we believe equality is a basic human right that everyone should hold dear. If one person is suffering from inequality, we as a society suffer. Equality Vodka was founded by two straight allies who refused to let inequality continue.
That's why we're calling for all individuals – whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, or questioning – to join us in committing to equality for all.
If you're ready to take hold of 2019 and be a part of shaping our future, we invite you to join us, LGBT individuals, and other LGBT allies. Here's how you can get involved.
In Your Community
Your community stretches from your immediate family to your neighbors to the businesses in your town or city. Wherever you go in a typical day and whoever you see is part of your community, whether you know them or not.
Friends & Family
Within your own personal network, you may know someone who's struggling with the idea of coming out as an LGBT individual. Coming out requires a great deal of bravery and it's best for the individual if he or she is allowed full control of when and how it happens.
If you think someone you're close to is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, you can show your support without taking any of the power away from the individual. For example, you can express your appreciation for something pro-LGBT that someone has said in the news or some company has done in the public spotlight.
You can also strike up a conversation about a related topic – such as diversity of religion, culture, or political beliefs – without talking specifically about LGBT issues. Anything that feels natural to you and shows that you are accepting of people from all walks of life can go a long way toward easing the anxieties of someone close to you who is considering coming out.
Local Businesses & Organizations
Oftentimes, we make the mistake of thinking we can only support the people we directly know. However, LGBT allies can support everyone by encouraging an atmosphere of acceptance and equality.
If you own a local business, let your community know that you are an LGBT ally by posting a symbol of acceptance in clear view, like a safe space sticker or a human rights flag. You can also join thousands of other LGBT allies and allied businesses by posting celebratory content on your social media platforms in honor of the following national days:
- National GLBT Heath Awareness Week – Last Week of March
- International Transgender Day of Visibility – March 31st
- GLSEN Day of Silence – a variable day each April
- Lesbian Visibility Day – April 26th
- International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – May 17th
- Harvey Milk Day – May 22nd
- LGBTQ Pride Month – June
- Celebrate Bisexuality Day – September 23rd
- LGBTQ History Month – October
- National Coming Out Day – October 11th
By simply showing your support in small, subtle gestures you can help create an atmosphere that embraces individual differences and makes equality the standard in your community.
We spend one-third of our daily lives at work. That's a significant amount of time, particularly if that time is spent worrying about whether or not your colleagues would treat you differently if they knew about your sexual orientation.
According to a report by Out Now Global, a recent study showed that 57 percent of individuals surveyed said they were afraid to speak up when they heard anti-LGBT comments at work. Forty-nine percent of survey-takers said that they also feared to be seen as gay if they did say anything in defense of LGBT rights.
Not only is the workplace a serious factor in the well-being of individuals who identify as LGBT, but also it significantly affects LGBT allies. The same survey found that 13 percent of respondents said they were more likely to stay at their jobs if they knew their employer supported LGBT equality
You can make a powerful impact on your company culture by starting a dialogue about LGBT issues. Due to the fear of speaking out against anti-LGBT remarks, many of your coworkers are likely LGBT supporters, but simply never mention it. However, silence can do just as much harm as anti-equality comments.
Talk to someone in your human resources department about whether or not the company has policies that are inclusive of LGBT issues, such as offering benefits coverage for spouses in same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships. Ask your administration to send out a quarterly memo about the company's stance in favor of LGBT equality.
You can also move your company culture toward an attitude of equality by speaking up when someone makes anti-LGBT comments. Even phrases such as "That's so gay" or "Suck it up, princess" can make LGBT individuals feel as though they have to hide their true identities. As LGBT allies, we can make a powerful statement by standing up for any oppressed individual.
LGBT Allies at the Polls
In most cases, the legislative system in America requires that a majority of the population – or the majority of representatives – vote in favor of a bill in order to create a new law. However, with LGBT individuals representing less than a tenth of the population, LGBT allies are the true drivers of equal rights laws.
LGBT allies have the most power to affect change in our country by getting informed and casting a vote in favor of equality at the polls.
Are you an LGBT ally? Let us know in the comments below! Of course, if you have any questions about how to be an ally, we're here to support you. Post a comment or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.