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How to be a great LGBTQ ally in NYC

#AllyWeek kicks off September 28, 2015

In June, NYC pride celebrates the queer community, via plenty of sparkles, cheers, booze and more, but there's plenty to celebrate and do in the LGBTQA community year-round.

Here are a few influential ways to be a supportive ally in NYC.

1. Read up on your LGBTQ history and culture

Whether you have a major in gender studies
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Whether you have a major in gender studies or recently became obsessed with 'RuPaul's Drag Race', there's always more to learn on LGBTQ history and cultural studies. You don't need a phD to read novels, comics or academic texts on LGBTQ people. Visit feminist and social-activist bookstore Bluestockings for some recommendations. Strand Bookstore also has a queer studies section as well as many local NYC bookstores. The NYPL also has a special LGBTQ section with countless resources available for free.

2. Vist NYC's LGBTQ history sites

NYC is rich in LGBTQ history! From the
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NYC is rich in LGBTQ history! From the Stonewall Inn and the Gay Liberation monuments outside to the James Beard House to Brooklyn's Lesbian Herstory Archives, there's plenty of local history to soak up.

3. Stay up-to-date on current LGBTQ news

In addition to knowing what the coolest gay
Photo Credit: Gay City News

In addition to knowing what the coolest gay bars of the moment are, keeping up to date on current events is key to being a supportive ally. Gay City News, NYC's LGBTQ paper is free weekly. Similarly, plenty of blogs and newsletters for LGBTQ people and allies are an easy, quick way to catch up daily on events.

4. Volunteer

While NYC is arguably a great place to
Photo Credit: FACEBOOK/lgbtcenternyc

While NYC is arguably a great place to be if you're an LGBTQ person, there's still a lot of work to be done. Donate a some of your time to the cause and volunteer. NYC Pride always needs volunteers for events. Additionally, the LGBT center has countless volunteer opportunities almost daily. Organizations like GLAAD, SAGE, The Ali Forney Center and plenty others are also looking for volunteers to help everyone from LGBT youth to the elderly.

5. Donate

If you don't have time to volunteer but
Photo Credit: FLICKR/mindfulone

If you don't have time to volunteer but have some extra cash, donating even a little can go a long way. All of the organizations listed above can always use a monetary donation as well as smaller groups like Identity House, which offers LGBTQ peer counseling and the National LGBT Museum which plans to open in NYC in the near future.

6. Support gay-owned businesses

While we all know of some corporations that
Photo Credit: FLICKR/stevieontario

While we all know of some corporations that use pride marketing to make a profit, there are plenty of local gay-owned businesses in NYC that can also use your support. For one, Big Gay Ice Cream, is a sweet option. Check out New York's branch of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, NGLCCNY, for LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses. Gayfriendlymarket.com also highlights similar businesses.

7. Make some noise

Sure, when you're cheering down Bleecker street and
Photo Credit: FACEBOOK/PrideAgenda

Sure, when you're cheering down Bleecker street and waving your rainbow flag you're proud to be an ally, but don't forget about all the other opportunities to let your voice be heard. PFLAG's NYC chapter has tons of resources for LGBTQ people and allies to get involved in political and education networks to help support and understand equal rights for LGBTQ people.

8. Say "thank you"

Never hesitate to thank the person or people
Photo Credit: FLICKR/turkeychik

Never hesitate to thank the person or people who taught you about what it means to be an LGBTQ ally, how to be a better ally or inspire you to be the best ally you can be. A little bit of appreciation can go a long way.

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