Circle II: Interpersonal
As The Stonewall Center in How To Be an Ally to LGBT People also stated, remember to use more inclusive language.
This sounds more complicated than it actually is.
Our society operates under some simple assumptions about gender-identity and sexuality. People assume other individuals are first and foremost the gender they are assigned at birth, otherwise known as cisgendered, as well as heterosexual, meaning they are attracted to a person of a different sex. In these ways, our society has both cis-normative and heternormative assumptions.
- First, Check your privilege. When I say privilege, most people’s first thoughts go to a celebrity, but I mean the daily advantages that society offers individuals for being a specific race, class, gender, sexuality, able-bodiedness, and more. Consider this checklist of Straight Privilege or a short checklist of other privileges that you might have from TJLP.
2. Secondly, Consider other viewpoints and perspectives:
3. Then, Adapt EVERYDAY language (This is crucial to undermine social heteronormative and cis-normative assumptions, ours and others) to be more inclusive:
- “wife/husband” or “boy/girlfriend” with partner, significant other, lover
- “brothers & sisters” with comrades, friends, fellow citizens, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
- “you guys” with you all -or my favorite- y’all
- “girl/boy” with individual, person, friend, neighbor, etc.
Which leads to my next point…
Never assume gender, preferred gender pronoun, preferred name, or sexuality.
To really combat cis-normativity and heternormativity, it would be beneficial if you asked EVERY ONE their preferred gender pronoun. What? You think that would be AWKWARD? Yeah, it is. Now you've considered what it's like to be on the other side of that, asking individuals to use a different gender pronoun or name.
These are important ideas to include in your framework of thought when working for or serving an LGBTQ population.
Unfortunately many organizations that are “LGBT” focused or friendly don’t always put effective, supportive, or affirming work where the words are.
This failure may most often be seen in the lack of support for trans*-identified individuals.
Take a moment to look at another resource
A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination: “Injustice at Every Turn.”
- So, ask questions to see where the work is done, what support is given.
- or, if it’s your organization, ask those questions of your own work and care.
Consider the definitions we just learned in our Intrapersonal Conversation, Circle 1.
There are many sexualities and gender-identities.
People don’t always desire to be limited to a this or that choice.
- Please also ask for more inclusive entry forms that leave spaces for preferred name and gender pronoun.
Here’s more on that:
[Howard Brown Health Center is a great example in the Chicago community of that offered inclusivity.]
- When writing for or about trans*-identified individuals, as a non-trans*-identified individual, keep these guidelines from Jacob Hale in mind.
and, follow these Action Steps for Being a Trans* Ally.
- Also, maintain the perspective in your work and care that there are no “traditional” families, from the Byard family reported in Windy City Times, to Butches and Babies, to the families covered in “Original Plumbing, Issue 8: Family Matters,” to even our own self-selected families.
Continue on to more Queer subsets within society:
Introduction: Being Queer