Supporting The Coming Out Process At Work
1. Do not assume you know everyone's dimensions of diversity.
We should always strive to be respectful, but it is also important to remember that we are only human, and we can make mistakes. When it comes to someone’s gender and sexuality, remember that many dimensions of diversity are invisible.
2. Be diligent in asking and using personal pronouns.
As humans, we are always evolving – and this may also be true for the way that we choose to identify. Do not be afraid to ask someone what their pronouns are – and ask everyone! But also keep in mind that these things can change. Pronouns can be updated. New partners may have different pronouns. And policies like dress codes may affect people differently, depending on where they are in their journey.
3. Do not rely on the 2SLGBTQI+ community to educate you - do your own research.
It is not the job nor the responsibility of your coworkers to educate you on inclusion, diversity, equity, or accessibility (IDEA) IDEA topics. And that includes queer folks! If you are unsure of the meanings of the letters in the acronym 2SLGBTQI+, or how to ask for a person’s pronouns, the dfference between gender terms and sex terms etc. it is up to you to do the work.
4. Instill and clarify your safe space values.
Everyone deserves to come to work authentically and to feel safe while doing so. Being a builder of safe spaces is a powerful thing. Utilizing inclusive language, sharing your own pronouns, clarifying your boundaries on sharing personal information, and not pressuring others to share details that they may not feel comfortable disclosing – are all components of acting in allyship and creating safe spaces. And this does not only apply to members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, but to individuals who may be experiencing changes in their life. Being a truly safe, respectful person gives others a person to reach out to and reminds them that they aren’t alone.
5. Promote inclusive language and 2SLGBTQI+ initiatives.
Ensuring your organization includes equity-deserving groups in inclusive initiatives is a vital part of any IDEA journey. But these equity-deserving groups, including those who identify as 2SLGBTQI+, should not always be the ones who are responsible for getting the ball rolling.