With Mardi Gras and World Pride just around the corner, many of us are excited to attend festivities, celebrate, and support the LGBTQIA+ community. However, it is also important to be aware of what these events stand for and how you can carry your support through to your every day. Below are some steps everyone can take to be an LGBTQIA+ ally and promote inclusion in diverse environments, including our workplaces.
Provide a safe space for and actively listen to LGBTQIA+ people and try to understand them and any struggles they may be experiencing. Everyone deserves to have their voice heard. After listening, respond without judgement and with support.
If you are not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and someone asks you about these issues, respond by providing resources or seeking the advice of an LGBTQIA+ person, rather than speaking on behalf of the community.
Asking LGBTQIA+ people about their sexuality or gender identity can be deeply uncomfortable and/or offensive, and no one should have to explain who they are. If you would feel uncomfortable being asked or told something, it is likely that anyone else would be too, no matter their gender or sexuality.
Educating yourself about LGBTQIA+ issues and experiences can help you to understand others and avoid asking uncomfortable questions which in turn can allow you to foster positive relationships with your colleagues, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Remain open-minded about differences between us. No two people are the same and everyone has their own story! Part of being an ally in the workplace (or elsewhere) is accepting this and not allowing our preconceptions to shape our thinking about others.
Respect those who share their identity and experiences with you, and bear in mind that making an effort to use the right terms, names or pronouns helps people to feel accepted, valid and appreciated. We all want to feel like this!
An essential part of allyship is also educating others and speaking up when you see or hear bias, bigotry or anything else that may negatively affect a co-worker. Be an active, not a passive, bystander if you witness microaggressions in your workplace.
These are just a few steps that we can integrate into our daily lives to better include and support our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, family, or friends. In short, treating others how you would like to be treated is the best method to facilitating positive relationships.
Happy Mardi Gras and World Pride! ?️?