Allies are individuals who don’t identify as LGBT+ but fight for LGBT+ rights. They fight to end homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and ensure that the LGBT+ community gets equal civil rights as everybody else in the society.
Who could be an ally?
Anybody could be an ally. As a member of the community, your siblings, your teachers, your friends, and even your 70- year- old grandparents could be your allies! All it takes for them to be considered as allies is to accept you, understand you, and support you regardless of your sexuality. And that should be how they treat, not only you but everybody else around them too.
Why are allies important to the Iraqi LGBT+ community?
The Iraqi LGBT+ community remains a minority until this day. This means that the effect of our actions, as a community, to reach equality is mainly controlled by everybody else who’s is part of the majority. For that, having allies by our side gives us a voice to reach a larger group of people in the society. Spreading LGBT+ awareness among these Iraqi groups helps us find more allies.
Allies help us spread love. They fight to change the view the society has about the LGBT+ community even during hard times when members of the community themselves can’t fight.
As an ally, what are some ways to support the Iraqi LGBT+ community?
Supporting the LGBT+ community could be extremely dangerous in Iraq due to homophobia that’s common everywhere in the country. Still, supporting the community isn’t impossible.
If your parents aren’t homophobic, start with them. Ask them what they know about homosexuality and correct them if they are wrong about something.
Educate your siblings. You might actually realize that you have a queer brother or a queer sister! If that’s the case, then educating yourself will be even more fun to do.
Showing your support could also be achieved by using different social media platforms to spread awareness. Remember that your safety comes first so spread awareness only among the close people that you fully trust and know that won’t put you in trouble. Share facts about homosexuality, post YouTube videos of transgender people who talk about their journey of coming out, or share artworks that picture the difficulties of being homosexual. There are thousands of sources on the internet that you could encourage others to check. You’ll realize after a while that there are plenty of people who are interested in the topic.
Another way would be to volunteer for organizations that fight for LGBT+ rights. Volunteering gets you closer to people from the LGBT+ community who have been through tough times due to their sexual identities. Learning about these experiences can open your eyes and give you the motive to make a change. Volunteering also gives you the chance to build a network with other allies in the country. IraQueer welcomes any allies who like to volunteer and support the community.
And the easiest way to make a change as an ally is to be kind. Iraqi LGBT+ individuals constantly deal with bullies and disrespect that may force them to push everyone away so acting with a little bit more kindness with them means a lot.
If you get the chance to be friends with somebody from the community, try to listen to them, let them know they matter, and give them the time they need to understand themselves and their needs.
Allies are essential to make a positive change in Iraq
Whether you know them personally or not, allies play an essential role in fixing our Iraqi social norms and empowering the LGBT+ community. No matter how allies choose to show their support, all the effort is appreciated and is leading us, sooner or later, to a better and more accepting society.