Every June, we celebrate the month of Pride: 30 days of honoring, recognizing and celebrating the LGBTQ community. While pausing to honor those people who are often misrepresented, misunderstood and often criticized or judged, is essential, it's not enough. Rather than only thinking about the lesbian, gay, transgender and queer during June, we should all be making daily changes to our personal and professional lives to create a more inclusive world. Here, we spoke with LGBTQ executives and leaders how everyone can become more mindful, conscious, and more importantly: drive fundamental shifts in antedated thinking and behaviors.
Don't make assumptions concerning the identities of others.
Throughout our day-to-day interactions, we naturally make assumptions of others according to our unique experiences. Including the mother and father who raised us, the zipcode we call home, our use of education, and lots of additional factors. However innate this practice may be, it's rarely smart to conclude anything about anyone, simply from looking at them. As Ben Van Handel, Ph.D., the co-founder and CEO of Heraux, explains, it's a mistake to create assumptions concerning the identities of others.
As a good example, he recently was getting a haircut when he casually mentioned his partner have been looking after his hair during the pandemic. “The barber commented that my girlfriend had done a good job keeping my hair in check,” he continued. “It wasn’t an issue, however i always ask individuals to try and take cues from others they're interacting with: I chose the word partner to supply some context.”
Come from the place of curiosity and kindness.
While some growth originates out of 'cancel culture,' it has also become so pervasive in society that it's preventing meaningful conversations from happening, says Patrick Gevas, a board member for Miami Beach Pride. While planning the upcoming month of celebrations, Gevas along with other board members held an open, welcoming discussion, where all conversation was allowed and welcomed. This felt like a breath of outdoors because it originated from a place of curiosity and kindness, rather than fretting about walking on eggshells.
“We all walked away from the roundtable discussion learning new things and part of what made it so productive was the entire premise it's a safe spot to ask questions, admit ignorance and keep an open mind and heart,” he continues. “So we're all always prepared to share information or perspective from people who genuinely seek it.”
How can you do that the proper way? Gevas suggests simple things like, 'I'm a little uneducated about [TOPIC] and would like to learn your perspective.' “This phrase can go this type of long way to unpack nearly any query. A genuine curiosity about an LGBT person's perspective can illuminate a great deal as well as make that individual feel so much more valued and seen in nearly any scenario,” he added.
Take a few minutes each day to learn about identities.
We all identify a small fraction of who we are as humans, yet sometimes, it might be the central focus during LGBTQ discussion. This is exactly why Gevas encourages well-meaning allies to avoid coming from a place 'Oh, you're LGBT, what exactly do you consider?' and more of an 'I'm interested in your opinion. Hard stop.'
“Being inclusive means going for a genuine interest in someone's life or identifying a certain trait or skill they succeed in or derive joy from and relating on that level just like you would other people,” he reminds.
Also, it shouldn't be fully as much as members of the LGBTQ community to provide information on current events, struggles, issues and discussions. That's why Andrew Glass, the co-founder of Wakse, suggests setting aside a few minutes daily to teach yourself. He says we are more prepared in conversation to make others feel at ease and accepted.
In accessory for reading content from trusted sources, you may also actively fill your social media with LGBTQ advocates, athletes, yet others you admire. “Absorb their messages and become empathetic to issues they may raise,” recommends Amy Russo, a BodyCombat and BodyPump instructor at Les Mills Fitness in Nj.
Use the right pronouns – and request them.
One of the very most straightforward changes to make is via your pronouns. There's been much discussion in the last few years about why saying 'he' to some trans person who identifies as a woman (or vice-versa) hurts. A lot of companies have learned to include preferred pronouns in email signatures, but it ought to be a regular part of the conversation. In fact, it will help those within the LGBTQ community feel included and respected, according to Holly Dear, who owns the Dear Beauty salon and creator of the House of Dear product line. If you aren't sure how someone identifies, ask them.
“When we use our voice and platform to aid everyone in who they really are and where they are, we are able to start to achieve an atmosphere of inclusiveness which creates security, support and belonging,” she shares. “My desire would be to spread love and understanding for those humans without judgment for anyone and produce strength and support to any person whose rights aren't being acknowledged or are now being sacrificed out of hate or judgment.”
Be an ally publicly.
As an ally and advocate of the LGBTQ community, your support will not be silent. But i am not saying you have to stand it the middle of a town square, preaching every weekend to drive change. Instead, Russo says to become public and vocal in whatever way that means for you – going to a Pride event or parade, posting something on social media, or speaking up when you hear a homo/trans/biphobic joke or comment.
“Impact means more than intent. You can think about becoming an ally until you're blue in the face, but until it's put in concrete action, particularly if you're somebody that isn't at risk of danger or adversity because of your identity; they're just thoughts,” she continues. “Your LGBTQ friends and family deserve to see concrete types of your allyship, and it'll massively help you too. Who wouldn't want someone in their life you never know above all stuff that love is love is love?”