How to become an LGBTQIA ally and support the community by Lakshmi S Devan

Laskhmi Devan, Official brand advisor for Vortle. 

  • Hi, I am Lakshmi S Devan, a brand communications specialist, currently serving as the official brand advisor for Vortle. 
  • I am a thought leader on mental health with a decade of diverse experience and a passion for telling stories, big or small
  • As a proudly queer human being, I have talked about my experiences.

I went to a party recently, where someone told me “I look like a lesbian”. 

One of my friends was spat on for “looking gay”. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? But that is how the LGBTQIA community is often treated.

I grew up in an all-girls school extremely confused because I was attracted to my classmates. But I was a girl, then how could that be?

Isn't that what we have been conditioned to believe by society? 

I felt like an imposter in my own body. I lived in the fear of getting found out. 

I tried extra hard to look “girly” so nobody ever realised that I was different. It wasn’t easy growing up. 

Later in life, I realised; wait a second, I think I like men too? And now as I begin to reflect and understand more, I’m beginning to identify as a pansexual (someone who is attracted towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity).

Sexuality is a spectrum and I find it best to keep labels away from myself. 

When we make “innocent” homophobic remarks in our everyday lives, we make it more difficult for our LGBTQIA friends and family to live as their authentic selves. It doesn’t feel good to hide, pretend and fake being someone else.

Even if you are not part of the LGBTQIA community, you can still be an ally to us.

The smallest of efforts can make a difference, so help us by sharing this —> 
1. Being transgender, queer or non-binary is real, unique, beautiful, and valid. We may be different but we exist!
2. Lesbian or gay isn’t a look, a dress or a hairstyle.
3. Please stop using “dyke” or “homo” as slurs. It’s deeply hurtful to see our identities being used as cuss words.
4. It takes courage to be true to our identities even when we know we’ll be singled out and possibly made fun of.
5. If we reveal our sexuality to you, know that we are choosing to be our most vulnerable. Refrain from comments like, “Oh wow, you don’t look gay at all.” OR “Oh wow, but I thought you had a normal childhood. What went wrong?” OR “You might be homosexual now but wait till you meet the perfect guy/girl. You’ll change your mind.”
 
Because of the society at large, LGBTQIA youth today have a greater susceptibility to a wide range of mental health and social problems. Most of us are bullied and harassed. 

Research has found that attempted suicide rates and suicidal ideation among LGBTQIA youth are significantly higher than among the general population. Help me change this by getting this out to as many people as possible?

Maybe when someone says, “Oh my god, that bag is so gay dude”,  they are reminded of this and correct themselves, “I’m sorry, that was homophobic of me.”  

Beyond Pride Month

While almost every organization is celebrating pride month by adding the Pride flag to their logo, the work doesn’t end there. 

The month just sets the flow for the upcoming months to come. We have to keep this same supportive mindset and an open mind throughout the year. 

After all, we are all human; different, but beautiful.    

Your help can go a long way. We cannot do this without you.

Happy Pride Month. :)

Article by Lakshmi Devan 

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