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  • Gonzalo Laje

It’s Pride Season, as an Ally, You can Level Up: Blog by a Queer Therapist


Two middle school aged girls on a computer

If you haven’t already noticed from targeted ads on social media, displays at Target, or blogs

with clickbait-y titles, Pride 2023 is in full swing in America right now. As I write this blog,

forefront on my mind is that many of us are struggling for survival, with trans rights being

questioned and removed in many places in our country. (Allies: pause and click this link for a

learn more about how you might specifically support a trans family member, please take a look

at this blog I wrote for Transgender Day of Visibility.


Pride is a time for me to celebrate my identity, my queer family, and the freedom my

predecessors were criminalized and died for, and yet is hard to do this with so many of us

struggling for rights. With this in mind, I’d like to share some things with you that queer loved

ones might not feel safe saying or might not know how to say.


First off, we need to be aware of our own implicit bias, which extends beyond the more obvious

prejudice so many of us encounter and rally against. Whether we are members of the LGBTQ+

community ourselves, or whether we are allies, we experience implicit bias. This bias impacts

LGBTQ+ in all facets of their lives, from education, to our workplaces, to healthcare. Disparities

due to such bias can make day to day life extremely challenging, and at times, highly

debilitating. We may not feel safe asking for the help that we need, or seeking out the care we

require. Here’s a great article on how to understand implicit bias, how to actively work against it,

and how to avoid passing it along to others, including children: https://parents-


Next, we ask that our allies grow your understanding and help center and support LGBTQ+

voices. We need our allies because we get tired, so please keep propping us up and helping us

be heard. The more you can bring your focus back to our needs and our voices, the more you

are helping. If you notice your own feelings, maybe about your partner’s transition or your child’s

newly shared sexual identity, are impacting your interactions with them, or if your allyship is

becoming more about making yourself feel better about their identity, please seek out support to

process your feelings. Keep listening, stay open-minded, and please continue to stand up for

us. Here’s a great toolkit from the Humans Right Campaign to give you more ideas about how

you can support and center our voices: https://reports.hrc.org/b eing-an-lgbtq-


Lastly, please take some time to learn about intersectionality. Among the LGBTQ+ population

you will find many who are marginalized in other ways by their identities. Parts of our identities

may lead to privilege, while others may lead to oppression, whether we are LGBTQ+ or cis-het.

For those of us who are LBGTQ+ and otherwise also marginalized in our identity, we may be

particularly vulnerable. As our allies we need your help and understanding around how complex

our identities are, as you see not only our sexuality and gender, but also our individuality. Here

is another great too to help with this: https://gaycenter.org/about/intersectionality/#more


Allies, here are some questions and thoughts I am sharing with queer readers. You might

consider asking similar questions to your queer family members during pride this year, and

throughout the year ahead. Queer readers, what do you need this pride season? What do you

yearn for? What do you need from loved ones that you feel safe to ask for? How can you build

your chosen family to get those needs met further, or to even support you in identifying those

needs in the first place? Yes, you can meet your own needs, but you deserve rest from that. You

are not meant to be in survival mode all the time. How can you rally around your queer family for

mutual care? You deserve safety. You deserve to be taken care of. You deserve unconditional

love - it is your birthright.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Photo of Jaclyn Halpern, PsyD

Licensed Resident in Counseling (VA), Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (MD

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