Guess what? Being kind and compassionate towards different minority groups is actually free! We asked few LGBTQ+ Arabs how they can best be supported to feel safe and celebrate their identities, and here’s what we came up with:
1. Don’t Out Anyone
Can’t believe we have to say this but you’re not being supportive if you tell your BFF or your mama about someone you found was part of the LGBTQ+ community. Being outed, when one is not ready to be out yet can be gravely dangerous. Unless you are sure they have already come out, do not out anyone to other people.
2. Don’t Pressure Anyone to Come Out
In the same thread, each person has their own journey. They don’t have to come out to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ and be proud of themselves. If you want to practice true allyship, then be supportive in whatever decision they make.
3. Recognize and Use your Privilege
The reality is that society is set up to benefit some people more than others. Aka, when you benefit from a certain structure or environment, you have a privilege.
Acknowledging your privilege does not mean you are a bad person, or that you have not worked for what you have or experienced hardship. It simply means that you have not been discriminated against due to certain aspects of your identity.
Once you can acknowledge your privilege, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, you can use it to center and amplify the experiences of others who may not have been afforded the same advantages as you.
4. Speak up!
Once you have done your research, you need to use your platform to speak up about the experiences of Arab LGBTQ+ people.
Use your platform to educate others. Rather than take up space, centre Arab LGBTQ+ people in the conversation.
Be careful not to be performative in your allyship. Do not just speak up when LGTBQ+ experiences are ‘trending’, make sure to keep up the momentum.
5. Support Openly
Let’s face it. A lot of people think if you support the LGBTQ+ community, people might think you identify as part of that community. Stop! There’s nothing wrong if you were, but if you want to be a true ally, you need to speak up openly – whether it’s in your friend circle or social media posts.
Being part of the Arab LGBTQ+ community, and similarly, other ethnic ones is not a smooth sail, to say the least. There are so many cultural complexities and pressures people from the mainstream North American and European societies may not understand or empathize with.
People from the Arab LGBTQ+ community often face intersectional stigma from both sides. They often experience racism from the mainstream community for being Arab, and ostracization from the Arab community for being anything outside the narrative of the heterosexual white-passing male.
Being an ally to the LGBTQ+ Arabs can really change lives, so make sure to understand the power of your voice and use it!