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Portraits of Pride

Sometimes all it takes is one person to make you feel seen, heard and supported. Whether you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or not, anyone can be an ally by supporting people for who they are. This Pride Month, we’re highlighting stories of allies who advocate, educate and inspire.

Sean and Adrian

Sean Snyder and Adrian Stevens grew up dancing at powwows, but they were disqualified from a Sweetheart Special dance that required participating pairs to consist of a male and a female. The couple, which identifies as Two Spirit and non-binary, became determined to increase visibility and representation of Two-Spirit relations. By being open about their relationship and sharing their love for each other and their Native culture on Instagram, the couple has created a space online where Two-Spirit couples are not only represented, but celebrated.

Growing up they’d heard an oral history of Two-Spirit relations, but saw few examples of Two-Spirit couples documented in photos. By creating content that captures their love and other aspects of their life, they’re providing examples for future generations to see themselves represented. Through hashtags, messages, photos and more, the couple connects with others in the community, serving as allies to people across the country.

“By being Two-Spirit, and taking pride in our relationship and sharing it, we hope more people can see themselves represented and help others understand who we are.”

ADRIAN STEVENS AND SEAN SNYDER

Liz and Nick

When Liz Dyer’s son Nick came out, she wasn’t initially supportive, but something inside her started to question her views. She looked for resources to reconcile how she was feeling. She read blogs, met up with other families with LGBTQ+ kids, and began to see things differently. For Nick, the result was more than a feeling of acceptance — his mom’s support drastically improved his confidence.

Knowing there were other families out there going through the same thing, Liz started Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears to help other moms become whole-heartedly affirming and celebrate their LGBTQ+ children. She knows it’s a process for some parents, so the group is there to help educate and support. With over 27,000 members, the group is a space to ask questions, offer advice and share challenges.

“Being an ally means you’re open to learning and growing. I’m constantly listening to and learning from people in the LGBTQ+ community. And then you have to be willing to speak up when you hear something that’s homophobic or transphobic.”

LIZ DYER

Globally, more than 25 million people on Facebook are part of at least one of the 34,000 public groups that support the LGBTQ+ community.

Ariel and Dominique

When Ariel and Dominique Wilson weren’t feeling accepted by their families as a queer couple, they started an Instagram account as a way to document and celebrate their relationship. They quickly started to receive messages of support and gratitude simply for sharing a window into their lives.

One young girl who was struggling with her family not accepting her sexuality let Ariel and Dominique know how their content helped her gain confidence in herself. From then on, Ariel and Dominique knew their account, @TheWordQueer, was for more than just themselves. It’s a resource for anyone going through something similar — for anyone not feeling accepted or understood. And it’s inspiring thousands to feel more comfortable with their sexuality.

“As we started to post more and gain followers, people would message us saying how our story helped them come out or helped them be more comfortable with their sexuality. We realized that what we say and post can really help somebody else, and we’re quickly learning that with @TheWordQueer.”

DOMINIQUE WILSON

Katherine and James

After experiencing workplace discrimination, including misgendering and assault, Katherine and James Blake struggled to find work at supportive and affirming companies. Knowing that others in the trans community were going through similar challenges, they started the Trans Job Connect group on Facebook to share job listings from affirming employers with inclusive policies.

In addition to sharing open positions, the group also provides tips on specific language to look for in job listings to assess whether a company is likely to have inclusive workplace policies and offer adequate healthcare for trans employees and family members. Katherine and James also offer mentorship opportunities to connect people with others who can help vet companies and offer advice on how to find supportive employers.

“Being a good ally means accepting someone for who they are and meeting them where they are — wherever that is in their journey.”

JAMES BLAKE