I’m sure you’ve seen the rainbows everywhere — the June 28th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City has become a month-long celebration of LGBTQ people and culture. Pride month is a great reason to go out of your way and connect with your LGBTQ audience.
As creators, we often think of our work as being for everybody and anybody. But, if we don’t make our LGBTQ identities and allyship obvious, we run the risk of alienating our queer audience members and they may not feel an invitation to connect with our work.
True connection comes from authenticity, and if you truly want to establish a relationship with your LGBTQ audience, that’s the first place to start. Here are our tips for building an authentic relationship with your audience, not just during Pride month, but all year long!
Because of the culture we’re immersed in, we all take in anti-LGBTQ information without even realizing it. It takes active work to be an accomplice in societal acceptance for all kinds of relationships, that’s why it’s important to examine your own homophobia, transphobia, cissexism, and heterosexism.
Did you have a particular “a-ha” moment about LGBTQ culture and how you relate to it? Did you ever go through the Heterosexual Questionnaire? What was your response to it? Do you remember the first moments you realized that you were gay, or straight, or whatever your own sexual orientation is?
Write about it, draw about it, sing about it. Create something about your process and share it. That level of transparency and authenticity will help your audience connect with you.
If you’re a bit of a history buff, dive in to why Pride is celebrated and how it started. Look up the history of LGBTQ activism in your own local community — was there ever a big riot? Were there local outspoken folks? Who were the first queer people to hold elected office?
If you’re more into art, research and share some of your favorite LGBTQ creators in your field. Share their YouTube videos, encourage folks to listen to their podcasts. If you are in a unique field, consider researching the history within that field and seeing what kind of LGBTQ stories are in the past. Who was the first queer person in your field to be awarded? Who has contributed, and what did they do?
Whatever your field of study, you can find LGBTQ history there, and it’s worth sharing.
Sure, you can go wild with the rainbows, but there are more subtle ways to show your LGBTQ community that you are in their corner.
Depending on what kind of art you create and the kind of public presence you have, your expressions and the things you share will vary. You might create your own written content stories around LGBTQ rights and celebration. You might even create a drawing or other artwork that reflects your community and exemplifies diversity. If you’re a photographer, you might work on a project taking photos that highlights LGBTQ patrons or fans. Another great idea is getting offline hosting a public event in support of and honoring queer culture.
Also, putting a rainbow on it is still a solid option, too.
Some of your community might not be as familiar with terminology in the gender and sexuality minority activism — perhaps you could post some links explaining terms you encourage them to learn. Post links, post quotes, post photos — and direct your folks to knowledge and resources they might not already have. Perhaps share some videos about being an ally, or an inspiring queer anthem, or what to wear to Pride.
Borrow other content and share it on your platform (being aware of copyright, of course — and asking for permission before reprinting other creators’ work). For instance, you could share photographs on your Instagram of moments in queer history, influencers and celebrities you admire, campaigns, and inspirational quotes by queer folks. You could post movie trailers for queer films that you loved — and explain why you loved it to your audience.
You could share images of the many different kinds of pride flags — we all know the rainbow one, but there is a trans flag, a genderqueer flag, an asexual flag, a BDSM flag, and dozens more. Look around for what catches your eye — if it is interesting to you, it’ll probably be interesting to your community.
Your platform is valuable, and so is the content you share through your newsletter, social media, and Patreon page and the audience who has access to it. Want to make the most of your platform? Share it. Pass the mic.
Use your platform to lift up queer voices. Interview someone LGBTQ about their amazing art. Collaborate on a song or project with a queer artist and friend. Use your platform to share work created by queer members of your community. It’s always important to speak up, but it’s equally important to pass the mic whenever you have the opportunity to do so.
When the rainbows start popping up in every corporate store window, it’s great to jump on and share some rainbows and love — but remember to do it all year round, not just during Pride month.
Also remember not to be intimidated. You don’t have to take on being a full time activist in order to participate in queer community and liberation, but following these tips above is a great place to start and to truly connect wth all members of your audience.