To celebrate Pridefest 2018, we are talking all things diversity and inclusiveness! This year’s theme is Together. One way we can come together and show our support for LGBTI+ people is around the language we use every day. An important step towards including LGBTI+ people in our community is having conversations about LGBTI+ people and their experiences.
Language can also the biggest barrier for people. It can be hard to keep up with new terminology. Sometimes we learn about a new term that sounds similar to another one, or other times we meet two people with the same identity but with different experiences of their identity. So to avoid making a mistake and hurting someone we can avoid having those conversations altogether.
Some top tips in regards to language are…
a) Making minor changes to our language: We can make spaces more inclusive by changing the language we use to recognise people who don’t identify as male or female. Avoid using gendered terms such as ‘boys and girls’, ‘girlfriend/boyfriend’. Instead try terms such as ‘young people’, ‘folks’, ‘your family’, and ‘your partner’.
b) Use the same language that a LGBTI+ person uses: If you use the same word LGBTI+ person uses to describe themselves you are unlikely to get their identity wrong.
c) Dealing with slip-ups: If you do slip-up with language it can be a bit embarrassing for everyone. But you don’t need to stress – just apologise, correct yourself, take note and move on. You don’t need to make a big deal about it but it is important to correct yourself in the moment.
d) Keep informed: You don’t need to know everything about every identity, but it is important to be aware of key language. Inclusive Education WA has a great glossary online that focuses on key terms people should be aware of.
You won’t get every word right the first time and that’s okay. It is important that you are taking the steps to be inclusive and soon you will find you will be using the right language without much effort.
To get involved in this year’s pride celebrations check out Pride WA’s guide for the list of events happening this November.
For more information on how you can support LGBTI+ people check out…
Freedom Centre Info Page – https://www.freedom.org.au/info-pages
Living Proud – https://www.livingproud.org.au/resources/