If you’re trying to get more educated about the LGBTQ+ community, you may feel stuck on what step to take first. Are you allowed to ask questions? Are there good places to start doing research or reading articles? Might you be able to watch a conversion therapy movie, a documentary about drag, or other topics related to the community?
If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, we may be able to lead you in the right direction. There’s a lot of information out there, and it can be challenging to weigh the differences between watching a conversion therapy movie and asking someone about their experiences. So if you want some help, allow us to provide a few suggestions.
Watch a Conversion Therapy Movie
Especially if you have limited friends and other resources, watching films and documentaries may be especially helpful to you as you’re beginning the research process. By deciding to watch a conversion therapy movie, for example, you’ll be able to expand your horizons and learn from multiple perspectives. And if you would typically agree with LGBTQ+ people, watching a conversion therapy movie may teach you to treat others with more humanity and kindness rather than shame or anger.
If you don’t have friends that you feel comfortable discussing conversion therapy with, this may fill you in on some of the basic information pertaining to the topic. You may also realize that homosexual people undergoing conversion therapy are often struggling more than onlookers might typically think. Many of these people have been raised by religious parents and feel personal shame about their thoughts and actions, for instance, and are likely not homosexual for the sake of bothering others or angering God.
For more advanced LGBTQ+ allies, you might learn about how to treat those who enable conversion therapy practices. You may learn about the intentions of therapists and church leaders, for example, especially because they are often well-intentioned but misguided in their processes. Many also don’t realize the overall pain they’re causing, and learning to treat these people with understanding may give them space to change their point of view or more peacefully coexist with those who have beliefs that differ from their own.
If you have friends who identify as LGBTQ+, you may want to communicate with them and ask them questions. However, you might want to gauge their interest in having these conversations or answering your questions before asking them something particularly heavy or complicated. It would be best if you also considered their particular identity. For example, a gay friend may know more than the average person about issues transgender individuals experience, but they are unlikely to know as much as a trans person would.
You might ask these friends for their opinions on good resources, talk to them about how they feel regarding certain political or current topics, or see how they feel about having deeper discussions if you have questions in the future.
The only reason we recommend asking about the comfort levels of your friends has to do with the amount of pressure this might place on your acquaintances. Your comrades may know more than you, but they may not wish to pose themselves as experts or as a person who wants to have these types of conversations on a regular basis. Because of this, be sure to be kind and considerate to the people around you.
You may also start performing research online, especially if you want to feel better informed before taking questions to others. This research can be done in a variety of ways, including looking for articles, blogs, videos, and more created by LGBTQ+ individuals online. There’s also fantastic and inclusive information created by non-LGBTQ+ creators online, but you may be more successful in displaying your allyship if you direct LGBTQ+ people more directly.
Begin by searching for questions you might have on a high level. This might include some of the following topics:
- How to be a good ally
- How to use pronouns correctly
- What should I know about the trans community?
- How to support LGBTQ+ individuals with my vote
- The history of conversion therapy
- LGBTQ+ business to support near me
- and more!
If you’re planning on doing research, you may also be able to find good resources through online gay communities on social media or some of your friends.
Be Honest About What You Don’t Know
Many people don’t know a lot about the gay community, including LGBTQ+ individuals who are just starting to learn about their identities and sexualities on a personal level. Because this is the case, there is no need to worry about not knowing something. Suppose you don’t know something specific, whether that’s how you might want to vote on a particular political issue, the history of certain topics, or almost anything else. In that case, you can say that you don’t have enough information on the subject.
Suppose you’re able to be honest about not knowing much regarding unfamiliar topics. In that case, you are far more likely to get the correct information and have accurate and fulfilling discussions about the LGBTQ+ community. You’re also far more likely to be respected in the community for your honesty and desire to learn more.