Following Pride month in June, SA Law wanted to share some top tips on how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination in the workplace, barriers to health care and social housing, harmful bias, etc. Allies are therefore important to support advocation for equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBTQ+ social movements and challenging phobia. Anyone can be an ally, and all it takes is to support the needs and struggles of people within the community.
The key quality of an ally is to have a desire to:
- Learn and understand;
- Help people feel supported and included; and
- Address barriers to fairness and justice.
Companies can also become allies by creating an inclusive environment and establishing internal policies or guides on trans equality and inclusion to help articulate support in this area.
One important factor for an ally to consider is their language. Language has the dual effect of being both an important social function that fosters solidarity within a group and a way for someone to express and shape their personal identity.
People may express their personal identity through their pronouns. If someone asks you to use their pronouns, they are asking you to respect their identity and using the wrong pronoun, especially on purpose, can leave that person feeling disrespected as well as making them feel dysphoria, exclusion and alienation.
Mistakes happen but everyone can take steps to avoid them. For example,
- Offering your own pronouns to culture an inclusive environment;
- Asking what language individuals prefer people to us when meeting them for the first time;
- Adopting terms that individuals use when speaking to them; and
- Being apologetic and willing to improve when someone challenges the language that you use.
SA Law’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee believes that all its colleagues and clients should treat all people regardless of who they love, express themselves, or identify with dignity and respect.