By Courtney Reyes, One Iowa executive director
June always rushes in with rainbows and LGBTQ folks on panels. The One Iowa team is full force in training more people than ever. This influx in June is welcome, but we know that we must continue the conversation of LGBTQ liberation all year long.
We also know that we cannot do this work by ourselves. I believe that we have the numbers for good – that Iowans, like you reading this, want LGBTQ community members to feel safe and affirmed every day. Due to our current statewide political climate, we need allies to speak up. This is where you come in!
What can I do to help the LGBTQ community right now? Here a few of my go-to ways to use your power and privilege for good:
- Educate yourself and your company about the LGBTQ community. (One Iowa can help!)
- Don’t assume someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Listen to how they talk about themselves and their family — mirror that language.
- When a marginalized person speaks up about injustice in a meeting/online, don’t stay silent. Let the room know you support this person.
- DO assume that there are LGBTQ people in your workplace and life. They just may not be out to you.
- Shut down homophobic and transphobic talk/jokes immediately.
- Degender your language. Here are a few to get you started: Instead of saying “husband/wife,” say “spouse/partner”; instead of saying “son/daughter,” say “child”; instead of “ladies/gentlemen,” say “distinguished guests”; and replace “hey, guys” with “hey, friends.”
These are just a few easy actions to get you moving. It is so important to keep learning and to be OK with changing your mind with new information. Remember that advocating from a place of intersectionality is crucial. We stand on the shoulders of the Black and Brown transgender folks who started the gay revolution over 50 years ago at the Stonewall Riots. We must continue their work.
No pride for some without liberation for all.
Courtney Reyes is a stay-at-home mom turned executive director who leads the advocacy group One Iowa. One Iowa advances, empowers and improves the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide. Learn more about the 15 anti-LGBTQ bills from the Iowa Legislature that One Iowa, One Iowa Action and a coalition of people stopped in 2021.