Storify: How to Support LBGTQUIA+ People

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

[Content Note: Transphobia, Gun Violence, Pulse Shooting]

These tweets were written in the wake of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. As of writing, this act of terrorism is the deadliest shooting attack in US history. The motive for the shooting is unknown to me at this time, but it is important to note that this was a gay nightclub that catered to LBGT+ clientele, that the shooting happened while the club was holding a Latinx event, and that this month is both Pride month and Immigration Heritage month. The shooter has been reported to be Muslim. I have no further information than this at this time. (06/12/2016)

I have written a series of tweets detailing ways to support for Muslim, Latinx, and queer people in the wake of this tragedy. I will be using the terms "queer", "LBGTQUIA+", and "QUILTBAG" in a largely interchangeable manner in these tweets. QUILTBAG is an acronym used by some members of the queer community, defined below.

Q = Queer and Questioning
U = Undecided (which some people prefer to Questioning)
I = Intersex and Intergender
L = Lesbian
T = Transgender
B = Bisexual and Bigender
A = Asexual and Aromantic and Agender (NOTE: A does NOT stand for "Ally".)
G = Gay and Genderqueer

"What can I do?" Here you go:

Give blood, if you can. Donate time or money, where you can.

Register to vote. Vote for anti-gun laws and anti-gun politicians. Vote for LBGTQUA+ politicians. Vote for Latinx politicians.

Push back on hateful rhetoric against LBGTQIA+ people, Latinx people, Muslim people. Do it on Facebook where your friends and family see. BELIEVE ME, you are friends with bigots even if you don't realize. Bigots are good at hiding. Let them see you push back.

Reach out to someone hurting. Not with a "what can I do" but an "I'm here". Offer hugs. Offer support. Tip their paypal or patreon. Buy books and music and media from QUILTBAG, Latinx, and Muslim artists. Feed us. Learn from us. Raise these voices over hate.

Vote against Trump. Vote against any politician crowing about today. (Long meaningful look at Dan Patrick's twitter account.) Vote Blue.

Look at your language. Don't use "gay" as a slur. Don't call gun violence "crazy/insane". Don't use anti-immigrant language like "illegals".

Don't argue with LBGTQUIA+ people on the importance of centering allies! Even if you believe that, let us center and grieve.

Don't police people OUT of the LBGTQUIA+ letters. Nonbinary trans people are valid. Bisexual people are valid. Accept us.

Don't forget the other letters. Queer is bigger than "G and sometimes-L."

Push television shows to take the Lexa pledge to not kill us off. Letting us live is a profound act of activism and visibility. #MakeReyAsexual / #MakeReyAce #GiveElsaAGirlfriend #GiveCaptainABoyfriend

Support us every day that you can, not just on days when we're in the news as victims.

Don't support media that kills us off.

I see a lot of people offering prayers. Are you affiliated with a religious community? Talk to your religious leader about us. Ask your religious leader to preach REAL ACCEPTANCE to the community. Not "hate the sin", not "only if they're chaste", but real love. You and your pastor may be cool but I PROMISE YOU there are members of your community assuming you share in their hate. Fix that. It's hard. People may leave. You may lose tithes. It's necessary. Do it. I beg you.

Wiccans and Pagans: are your communities OPENLY trans-accepting? Make sure there's a statement on your site saying so.

Atheists: Are your sites accepting of us? No TERF rhetoric allowed, no "both sides" on anti-trans bigotry? Check. Be sure. Thank you.

Similarly, your religious or non-religious community needs to be accepting to Muslim people and Latinx people. Openly and vocally.

Support homeless shelters. MANY QUILTBAG youths are made homeless by hostile home lives. Support trans-friendly shelters.

Are your local shelters trans-friendly? Does your local woman's shelter accept trans women? Ask them. Urge them to do so.

Is your kid in school? Call your principal and tell them you support trans rights. Don't let them only hear from bigots.

Visit your local library. Ask for a Pride book display. Donate money flagged for QUILTBAG YA books. See if they accept donated books.

Review queer books by queer authors. Be a positive ally voice over the hatred those books receive. See also: Muslim and Latinx own voices.

There are SO MANY WAYS to help. But it's hard and you have to try. People may yell at you or unfriend you. That's allyship. Good luck.

Be visible so that we don't always have to be. Thank you.

Did you know that many workplaces can fire us for being QUILTBAG? If you can safely do so, support us at work. Talk to management or HR about your company policies. Put rainbow flags on your desk. Tell people why, if they ask. Again, if safe.

Does your company health insurance cover transition surgeries? Find out! Urge them to expand coverage.

Consider putting up a Name/Pronouns tag or plate on your cube. When cis people ask, explain trans acceptance and pronouns aren't appearance.

I know this stuff is really hard. You don't have to do ANY of this. This is for people who want to help, but don't know how.

If you don't know how to find LBGTQUIA+ books by LBGTQUIA+ authors, check the #ownvoices hashtag. I'm on there too, full disclosure.

I should belatedly add that I'm a bisexual transgender genderqueer person. My DMs are generally open for questions re: my identities.

More ways to help: Do you have kids? Teach them about us. There's LOTS of kid-friendly resources. Remember THEY may not be cishet.

Are there kids in your extended family? Can you slip Muslim, Latinx, LBGTQUIA+ authors into their reading? Get them a kindle?

Can you take kids for a monthly or weekly library day? Let them leave books at your house? Be a safe adult who won't report their reading?

Proactively vocally support queer family members. "We made sure to invite brother's boyfriend to mom's birthday party, right?" Don't assume.

I can't stress enough that you know bigots who are in stealth mode to you. You don't have to yell at bigots. You can be positive. You can be proactive. Let them be silent and ashamed. When they use That Tone, you can power over them. It's a powerful Southern Lady technique.

Let me illustrate:

"Suzy saw two girls holding hands at recess."
"Oh, isn't that adorable! Young love is always so sweet. I remember being that age."

"There's a trans boy at school and they're letting him use the restrooms."
"Oh, that's wonderful! I'm proud our town isn't bigoted!"

You can run roughshod right over the bigotry tone and pretend everyone in the room is a decent person. And if they press back, you can straight up say "oh my, I thought you were better than that." Channel my southern ladybitchery as needed.

While I've got your ear, I want you to know that it's okay to think long and hard about your OWN sexuality and gender. I hear from a LOT of folks who think they might be a little bit bisexual or maybe not quite cisgender but they feel guilty thinking so. A lot of them think they shouldn't dip into the queer community because they haven't "suffered" enough. Please, don't think that. We have Questioning/Undecided for a REASON. Many of us didn't leap fully queer from Zeus' brow. And a lot of us aren't made to "suffer" until AFTER we edge into the queer community. That's how heteronormativity works: by punishing you.

You're allowed to look at your bigoted adult family and say "you know what, I might be queer too so back off of [gay brother]." You don't have to, of course! But you're not "hurting" the queer community by considering whether you're one of us. Undecided is real.


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