WHAT IS PURPLE FRIDAY?
Purple Friday is LGBT Youth Scotland’s annual day of fundraising. It falls on the last Friday of February which is also LGBT History Month. Purple Friday celebrates the spirit of the LGBTQ+ community and the support of their allies.
We are proud to support LGBT Youth Scotland as Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ young people, working with 13–25-year-olds. As we celebrate Purple Friday we are sharing the charity’s simple top tips to help you show your advocacy to the LGBTQ+ community.
WHAT IS AN LGBTQ+ALLY?
An ally is someone who encourages, advocates and stands up for other people and/or groups.
An LGBTQ+ ally refers to someone who is heterosexual and/or cisgender, but who tries to make the world a better place for people who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) and actively challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
You can be part of the LGBTQ+ community and be an ally; for example, a cisgender LGB person can be an ally to transgender people.
TOP TIPS FOR BEING AN LGBTQ+ ALLY
Show that you are a good and trustworthy friend: For some LGBTQ+ people, coming out can be a scary and intimidating process.
If someone comes out to you, it’s a good sign that they trust and value you as a friend. Thank them for trusting you and offer to listen to them if they want to talk about it more.
It’s important to remember that they trusted you with this information, so make sure you don’t tell anyone else without checking with the person first.
Avoid making assumptions about someone’s identity: We all learn from a young age to make certain assumptions about people’s identities by the way they look or express themselves.
We associate certain things such as haircuts, clothes and perceived features of someone’s body with certain gender identities/sexual orientations. However, it’s useful to start unlearning these assumptions and stereotypes.
Learn more about LGBTQ+ identities and people:
The more we know about each other’s experiences, the more peacefully we can live alongside one another. LGBTQ+ people have contributed to all areas of our lives from science to sports, so you can build your knowledge in an area that you have an interest in.
Try to do your own research through appropriate sources such as LGBT Youth Scotland or Stonewall rather than relying on LGBTQ+ people to educate others about the community. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something or are unfamiliar with a term that is used.
Mirror people’s language and refer to them as they wish to be referred: It might feel tricky at first to use a different name or pronoun for someone, but it’s gets easier through practice.
If you are unsure about someone’s pronouns or something about their identity they have shared with you, just ask. If you get it wrong, apologise and move on – no need to make it more awkward than it needs to be. If someone else gets it wrong, correct them and move on. Finally, make sure you refer to people with their correct name and pronouns even if they are not around.
Be visible in your allyship: Displaying LGBTQ+ signs, attending LGBTQ+ and ally events, and sharing useful resources about the LGBTQ+ community are all ways to show to others that you support the LGBTQ+ community and are a safe person to come out to.
Small signs of inclusion such as rainbow badges or displaying your pronouns are easy ways to you’re your support. Getting involved in celebrations like Pride and Purple Friday provide opportunities for people to learn more about the LGBT+ community and are opportunities to share your voice as an LGBTQ+ ally.
Actively challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia if it’s safe to do so - even if it’s used as banter: Phrases such as “that’s so gay” can be hurtful and make people feel isolated and damage their mental wellbeing.
Confront homophobia, biphobia and transphobia it as you would confront any other forms of prejudice-based language such as racism. If you witness someone being the victim of homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic bullying or harassment, make sure to check in with them and see how they are feeling.
Reassure them that it’s not their fault and there’s nothing wrong with them. Show kindness and empathy to help them reach a calmer space away from the incident and ask if they would like any support to report this to a teacher or an appropriate adult outside of school. Be mindful that people can be victims of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying even if they aren’t actually LGBTQ+ but are perceived as LGBTQ+ due to harmful stereotypes.
LGBT+ Inclusion in Scotland today
Scotland has come a long way in LGBT+ rights since Section 28, with Scotland being the first country to include LGBT+ education as part of their national curriculum.
However LGBT+ people still often face discrimination. Here are some statistics from the Life in Scotland 2022 survey:
46% of LGBT+ participants rated their schools experience as bad
70% of gay and lesbian participants stated they experienced bullying at school
69% of participants believe transphobia is a big problem in Scotland
41% of gay and lesbian participants and 49% of transgender participants experienced a hate crime in the last year
Therefore, more work needs to be done.
A final word from Ali Kerr, Head of Partnerships at LGBT+ Youth Scotland
“Today, thousands of amazing people all across the country – including your amazing team at Head Resourcing –are coming together to send a positive message of love and support to LGBTQ+ young people. What an incredible thing to do! And what an important message it is for them to hear, now more than ever.
Thank you for fundraising today – we hope it’s a fun and memorable day for you and everyone involved as together we turn Scotland Purple! Every pound you raise will go towards our life-changing work supporting LGBTQ+ young people to thrive and flourish, allowing them to reach their full potential by feeling valued and loved”
Source: LGBTQ Youth Scotland