It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to turn our calendars to a new #GetKind theme as well. With everything going on in the world, it was a hard choice, deciding on just one topic, but we were able to narrow it down.
As the issue of equality becomes ever more present in the social sphere across the globe, billions fight daily to open the doors for those who have otherwise been oppressed and ignored. On June 2, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, reported that while the situation for the LGBTQ community worldwide had generally and comparatively improved, there was still a long way to go.
“While some progress has been made since the [U.N.’s] first study in 2011, the overall picture remains one of continuing, pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting LGBT and intersex persons in all regions,” said Al Hussein in an official statement.
With the daily struggle to balance representation with safety a constant, it is important for all to do our part in easing the transition to a more inclusive world. With our official June #GetKind theme, “LGBTQ Inclusivity”, in mind, here are a few tips on how you can contribute to that process:
- Get informed. You can’t help a cause if you don’t know what it stands for (literally, in this case). LGBTQ stands for representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and genderqueer individuals. In some parts of the world, the preferred initialism, LGBTQIA is inclusive of intersex and asexual persons as well. Find out more about what each of these definitions really mean and add an educated voice to the conversation.
- “If you see or hear discrimination, don’t be a bystander, speak up,” suggests Random Acts Act Proposals Officer Sarah Cavanagh. In order to effect lasting change, someone must start the ball rolling. Be that person by taking the less ventured path and standing up for someone or something meaningful.
- Support LGBTQ youth centers. With the number of teen suicides inching upward year by year, many of whom fall somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, it’s important to understand the cause and help stem the rise in statistics wherever possible. “If [a vulnerable teen] is troubled, it is important not to leave that person alone,” suggests the CDC. With the ease in which some sweep things under the rug, places like LGBTQ youth centers have made it their mission to intervene and give young people a place to feel they belong. Donate supplies, talents, and time where you can and contribute to a more positive future.
- Be kind to yourself. Living as a transgender or asexual person, for example, can be taxing — whether your stress stems from not being able to be open with the ones you love or having to deal with unfair treatment at work or school, it’s especially important to remember that while being kind to others is commendable, you can’t do that if you aren’t healthy yourself. Give yourself time to relax — find a place you can feel at ease and reward yourself for the heroic battle you have to fight every day.
- Read up on all the issues. The biggest talk that many countries around the world are having right now is mainly focused on marriage equality. And while it’s extremely important, there are issues that lie in the background waiting to be heard. Whether you’re an ally or fall somewhere along the LGBTQ spectrum, it’s important to know the history and facts behind topics like LGBTQ youth homelessness, health issues, and the complex journey of transgender issues.
- Support one another in your artistic and professional causes. Whether you attend an art opening or a music show that features or is put on by LGBTQ individuals, or contribute or give recognition in some way to a special scholarship for a graduating STEM student, there are a myriad of ways to show kindness through your actions.
- Get tested. According to the CDC, “an estimated 850,000–950,000 individuals in the United States are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).” You can’t be safe in your personal life if you don’t know your status — so do yourself a kindness and get reassured.
- Don’t be afraid to show off your support. In a world where so little emphasis is put on the need to be kind, positivity in LGBTQ spaces is even more valued. This month, make a promise to #GetKind for those who have long been pushed aside —
— let’s #GetKind for love.