Transform Your Workplace: Be an LGBTQ+ Ally
Many people feel uncomfortable when they hear a joke at the expense of an LGBTQ+ community member, but they’re not sure what to say. Others may notice discrimination happening, or hear nasty gossip, but don’t know what to do about it. As a straight or heterosexual person, you can do a lot in these situations. How? Get informed and become an LGTBQ+ ally.
What is an LGBTQ+ ally?
An ally is a person who supports the LGBTQ+ community and actively works to stop discrimination.
In your workplace, being an ally can help create a more welcoming environment for your colleagues who are out, and for those who may still be too uncomfortable to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity at work. You’ll help change the atmosphere in your workplace and help set expectations for your colleagues. How?
A few things you can and should do as an LGBTQ+ ally are:
- Stop assuming. Don’t assume that all of your colleagues are cisgender and heterosexual.
- Educate yourself. Learn more from the LGBTQ+ community. Attend events, read blogs by LGBTQ+ writers, learn their stories.
- Use gender neutral language. You can ask people which gender pronouns they prefer. Also, don’t ask people if they have a husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend. Instead, use gender-neutral language such as “partner.”
- Listen. If someone decides to tell you about an experience they’ve had or their struggles, listen to them without judging. Instead of making a plan or telling them what to do, ask how you can support them best.
- Stand up. Stand up against discrimination and harassment. Report incidents to the proper authorities and support the affected person as best you can.
- Request training. If your workplace doesn’t already have inclusivity and diversity training, request it or organize it yourself.
As an ally, you can make a big difference by creating a more welcoming workplace environment for everyone.