LGBT Allyship: The Power of Personal Pronouns  

Pride flag in the background with sticky notes featuring personal pronouns representing LGBT allyship

Discover the importance of LGBT allyship in reducing discrimination and harassment for gender diverse people in the workplace.

Imagine someone forgot your name and called you something else, deliberately or not. How did it make you feel? We guess it was probably a bit annoying, or perhaps made you feel uncomfortable, or even disrespected by that person. This feeling is common among gender-diverse people who have their pronouns misused or misunderstood.

The good news is, there are easy, free ways of incorporating LGBTQ-inclusive language in the workplace. We are here today to cover just a few! 

Why inclusive language matters

Generally, we do not guess others’ names by looking at their appearance. By challenging the typical assumptions about pronouns and gender by appearance, you can save yourself, your staff, and your clients from the embarrassment of mis-identifying or mis-representing others whose pronouns they don’t know. 

As we have talked about before on our blog, diverse teams are boons to any kind of workplace. When everyone uses and affirms their pronouns to each other, no one has to be singled out in order to be referred to in the right way. Using inclusive language also supports morale and wellness, especially for people exploring their gender identities. Many trans and gender-diverse people have even cited that the use of their correct pronouns has had life-saving impacts on their wellbeing. 

How to practice gender-inclusive pronouns at work

Like learning anything new, it just takes practice. 

Rehearse! When preparing for a speech, address, or even to chair a meeting, rehearse your self-introduction. Providing your pronouns right after your name or other credentials employs the concept of “habit stacking”, making it even easier to learn. 

Examples of introducing yourself with your pronouns include:

  • “My name is [name] and my pronouns are [pronouns].” 
  • “Hello! I am [name] and I use [pronouns]. I will be today’s facilitator.” 

It can also help to make this more normal by inviting the other person or people in your meeting to provide their pronouns in turn. A simple “What pronouns do you use?” or “Which pronouns would you like me/us to use for you?” can go a long way! 

Substitute it! While reading, or writing your next report, use neutral pronouns like “they/them” instead of gendered pronouns like “he/him” or “she/her”. Notice how it gets easier to do the more you practice, and that it doesn’t actually change much else anyway. 

Make space for it! When planning an event or meeting, include space in RSVPs for attendees to indicate their pronouns. It is also a great practice to put pronouns (or space to write them in) on name badges for all attendees. You can even purchase stylish buttons or badges for your team to wear in your workplace to affirm the importance of using the correct pronouns for everyone. 

Remember to foster a culture of learning, feedback, and acceptance. Don’t make a big deal when (not if!) you or someone else makes a mistake. In time, this practice of LGBT allyship will be second nature to your inclusive workplace. 

The significance of LGBT allyship

It’s essential for creating a workplace where all individuals feel respected and valued for who they are. By actively using LGBTQ inclusive language and behaviours, you can nurture an environment where discrimination and harassment are minimized. This not only boosts morale and productivity but also attracts and retains diverse talent. Companies that prioritize LGBT allyship are taking a stand for inclusivity and equity, which resonates positively with employees and clients alike.

Do you need guidance with building your business’ diversity and inclusion strategy? 

We are ready to help you take your next steps. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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