June is Pride Month, a time when the world’s LGBTQIA+ communities come together to celebrate and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Every year, the percentage of people who identify as a member of these communities increases, also increasing the odds of them being someone you work with. And while your employer may be making particular choices to promote diversity, you always have the option to be more inclusive with a powerful tool: your words. Here are some ways you can make sure you’re using LGBTQIA+-inclusive language in your workplace.
Terms surrounding one’s gender identity are evolving and more people within the workplace are using pronouns. Pay attention to your coworkers’ pronouns—and never assume them. To add clarity, you can add your pronouns to your email signature and any other online work communication platforms. Be sure to also share yours when you’re introducing yourself. This will help people when they need to reference you—and it’s an easy step to show you care.
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Use gender-neutral terms
How often do you use gendered terms? It’s common for people to say or write them without thinking twice because of how normalized they are within our society. Instead of saying “hey guys,” you can use “hey team.” Instead of referring to someone as a businessman or businesswoman, you can use “business person.” Here’s a full list of gender-neutral terms for reference.
Language is continually evolving—specifically inclusive language used for the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s okay to acknowledge you may not be as up-to-date on terminology as possible, but it’s important to be open-minded and curious as new language and terms may develop.