Homophobia and transphobia are important issues for the LGBTQ community. These two phenomena affect LGBT folks in all spheres of life from working to dating or simply existing, and lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are often subject to abuse, violence and discrimination. Many countries in the 21st century still outlaw homosexuality. 

According to research, over 20% of LGBTQ workers state that they have experienced discrimination when it comes to hiring, promotion and pay. We are twice as likely to be discriminated against at the workplace, and many trans people are forced to live as their gender assigned at birth to avoid violence and discrimination. So what can you do as a member of our rainbow-colored community? 

Respect the rights of others

While people in the LGBT community are seen as a minority and often suffer discrimination from others, this same discrimination exists within the community as well. Hierarchy exists everywhere and some groups are always more endangered than others. In the LGBTQ community, that’s trans women of color. While it can be easy for many gay and lesbian folks to discriminate against non-cis people, we need to pay our respect to people who do the most in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and that’s trans PoC. To become a more ethical member of the community, think about whether your actions may affect the rights of others.

Use inclusive language

Stop thinking your words don’t matter. In order to help normalize all different sexualities and gender identities on the spectrum, it’s important to promote the inclusive language. This is probably the easiest part of being an ethical LGBTQ+ human since it costs nothing and requires very little effort. There are handy guides on how to improve your use of inclusive language, so get educated and start changing the world today. 

Invest smart

According to research, around 40% of LGBTQ+ women felt they needed to work harder to show their competence while trans and non-binary people are much more likely to be stuck in entry-level positions than their cisgender peers. This piece of statistic applies to western societies, and the situation is much worse for LGBT people and other minorities in other parts of the world. In order to put a stop to discrimination and help affected people everywhere, be an ethical consumer and buy smart. Here’s an example: Look out for the b corporation sign when buying jewelry and you can be sure you’re buying ethically sourced and supplied items. These corporations treat their employees, environment and communities with respect, understanding and equality. 

Stop bi and non-binary erasure

Many members of the LGBT community go ahead and assume someone’s sexuality or gender identity or think these are binary constructs. When coming out, we assume someone is either gay/lesbian or trans while failing to recognize bisexuality, pansexuality and non-binary gender as valid sexual or gender identities. You can support your bi, pan and enby friends, promote celebrities who identify as such and work consciously on changing stereotypes that bi people are selfish and promiscuous and nb people are confused. 

Provide support

Unfortunately, many teens experience self-loathing when they figure out they are gay and suffer many negative mental health issues due to the fact. While most of us blame straight people for bullying and the system for not doing anything about it, the LGBT rights movement is also not doing enough, especially support-wise. We put too much focus on marriage equality, encouraging celebrities to come out and promoting sexual freedom (which are all important points) but we often neglect the members of our own community who struggle with accepting who they are. Offer support whenever you can! 

There’s one golden rule when it comes to being an ethical person, no matter the community you belong to: treat others the ways you want to be treated. Keep this principle in your mind all the time, because we seem to have lost our moral compass. Every one of us—lesbian, gay, bi, trans or anything in between or outside of these terms—can do more to treat people with fairness, empathy, compassion and respect, so start from yourself and go on to change the world.