Pride month is in full swing, and before it flies by, we wanted to share some ideas for you to implement in your life and at work. Pride month is a great reminder of things we can be doing all year round to support the movement. Let us know how you get on!
1. Buy from independent LGBTQ+ bookshops
With Independent Bookshop Week starting on 20th June, and many of our favourites now opening with social distancing, it’s a great time to up your support for LGBTQ+ booksellers. Check out London-based Gay’s The Word and Bookmarks Bookshop, The Portal Bookshop in York, Category Is Books in Glasgow, Scotland’s first LGBTQ+ bookshop Lavender Menace, and The Second Shelf, a feminist bookshop that supports and advocates for trans women’s rights.
2. Listen to your friends and colleagues
We’re (hopefully) all having uncomfortable but necessary conversations right now – but don’t stop while you’re ahead. Instigating discussions with colleagues and opening up supportive spaces for your workmates and friends who identify as LGBTQ+ is just one act of solidarity to start you down a path of active support. Listen, reflect and start creating change.
3. Support organisations
If you’re in a position to do so, make a monetary donation to LGBTQ+ charities or not-for-profit orgs who are and have been doing amazing work. If your donation can be monthly, even better. Start with MindOut, Mermaids, Gender Intelligence, UK Black Pride and akt, to name just a few. Equally, giving a portion of your time towards volunteering for a non-profit is a great way to offer support.
4. Buy books from LBGTQ+ authors and publishers and READ them
Book lists are fantastic resources to start reading more widely from LGBTQ+ authors, and the publishers who are dedicated to getting their books into readers’ hands. Check out this list of books from author Christine Burns MBE on Twitter. But don’t stop at browsing. Buy, read, and review, and recommend your favourites. Here are just a few publishers to add to your list: Dialogue Books, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Cipher Press, Stripes Books in the UK and Bold Strokes Books in the US.
5. Practise your allyship meaningfully
True allyship is something that must include action. Make an act of allyship or pledge to support your LGBTQ+ community by getting involved in Pride in London’s You Me Us We campaign. There is also this brilliant, comprehensive downloadable guide from The Trevor Project that outlines allyship practices to support young people who are transgender or non-binary.
6. Add your pronouns to your Twitter profile
Adding your pronouns to your social media bios can help to bring about the practice of mindfully ensuring correct pronouns are used any time we’re communicating – and not make assumptions that are harmful and erasing.
7. Follow & support LBGTQ+ publishing networks
Pride in Publishing and the Hachette Pride Network are two big networks in UK publishing that support, share voices and bring together LGBTQ+ people in publishing, including writers. There’s also Out On The Page, an online forum, directory and events programme for LGBTQ+ writers. Give them a follow, amplify their purpose and learn what you can do to support them and their members.
8. Share opportunities for LGBTQ+ writers
The Literary Consultancy are once again running their Michael Langan LGBTQ Free Reads scheme, which offers five free manuscript assessments for unpublished LGBTQ+ writers. Share this with your community (or apply if this is you – deadline 29th July!), find others like this to amplify, and maybe even start something like this yourself.
9. Get young readers involved
Speaking of book lists, it’s also important (and great fun) to expand the literary horizons of the young readers in your lives. Here are two great resources to start you off: How to build an LGBTQ-friendly library for your children & Reading with Pride: LGBTQ Books 2020.
10. Take it beyond Pride Month
Like anything we do to create change, be in it for the long-term. The above nine actions are just the start. Continue supporting people who identify as LGBTQ+ in publishing at every opportunity – your colleagues, authors, organisations and businesses that intersect with our work as publishing people – and keep on pushing for structural change.