Generating discussion is just one part of taking direct action to spark change, and nearly 12 months ago, we caught up with professional racing driver, and Racing Pride Co-Founder, Richard Morris.
As individuals, we all have the power to change the world, but only if we have the right tools and knowledge.
To do this, Richard kindly took time out to discuss LGBTQ+ allyship, and explained how we can be better allies to the community.
“Since founding Racing Pride, we’ve been raising awareness around LGBTQ+ inclusivity in motorsport and have given people the means to talk about allyship,” said Richard.
“In terms of visible allyship, there is a big difference between knowing that you would support someone around you if they came out as LGBTQ+ and then that person knowing that they would be supported.
“There are lots of things that people can do in order tobe a better ally. Firstly, think about the language you use and how you behave.
“Are you saying things that people might find offensive? Discriminatory and homophobic jokes and language can impact people without you even realising.
“You don’t know if someone you’re talking to might be LGBTQ+ and not out to you yet, or perhaps questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation, and that’s something you’ve got to remember.
“The things that you say might be hurtful without you knowing so instead of only watching your language around certain people, it has to become second nature,” he continued.
“In terms of language, we [Racing Pride] have an ally pack on our website that explains the terminology and gives some easy practical advice.
“Firstly, I’d say, it’s important not to make assumptions about people and you have to give them an opportunity to be themselves.
“There are also really simple visible signs of allyship as well. On social media, you can put your pronouns in your profile, for example.
“You can share pieces about LGBTQ+ inclusion, too, and this indicates to your friends and followers that you are thinking about this and are supportive of it. Talking about it can also open opportunities for LGBTQ+ people to feel more comfortable with you.
“It’s important that everyone does their bit to start a conversation but also to positively show support for the LGBTQ+ community because it is the fear of not being accepted that creates the biggest barriers.
“The most important thing about allyship is finding a way to show your support, even if you don’t know anyone who is LGBTQ+.
“I’m often asked how people should respond if they see others around them using unhelpful language such as homophobic, bi-phobic or transphobic terms or even excluding people because of who they are.
“It’s an important question but the answer is firstly not to become part of the problem,” explained Richard.
“Don’t make those jokes, don’t share them, and don’t make comments to fit in. Don’t be the one who laughs along because ultimately this fuels and encourages that behaviour.
“One of the greatest acts of allyship is to quietly, appropriately, and politely talk to someone you know who might be behaving like that and say that while they’re probably not meaning to upset anyone, what they’re saying could be hurting people.
“Tell them that it would be better not to make those comments and explain how this could improve things not only for the LGBTQ+ community but also create a healthier working environment generally.
“It shouldn’t have to fall to LGBTQ+ people all of the time to do this and I believe it’s a huge act of allyship when someone else says this and takes the burden away. Don’t fuel bad behaviour and instead, help people to understand and help them to change.
“If someone does come out to you, that is a fantastic sign of trust and this is something that you have to be respectful of,” he added.
“Unfortunately, people live in situations where they might not feel that they can be out in their whole lives and you might be the first person they’ve told. You might be the only person that they trust.
“Respect that and don’t out them to other people – it’s not up to you to share that information and that’s important to remember.
“As an LGBTQ+ person, you come out many times in your life and you’ll only do that when you feel safe in an area in your life and safe with those around you. It’s a very personal thing, but everyone can help to create that supportive environment in which LGBTQ+ people can be themselves.”