12 December at 05:00AM
PM Tips – Pronouns Matter: Communicating Effectively with the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community
With more people bringing their full selves to the workplace, it is imperative that professionals in leadership positions, such as project managers, know how to properly address team members, peers, and stakeholders from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
On June 28, 2022, Sandeep Nair (he/him/they/them), Manager of Business Development at Pride at Work Canada, spoke to PMI Toronto members about some current and major LGBTQ+ matters, including suggested terms to be used and avoided when communicating with the community. Read the event recap here. Below are key tips learned from the session to help with being more inclusive.
Language to Avoid
As time progresses and social agents evolve, terms used in the past have been revised to reflect current ways of thinking. This prompts more respectful, inclusive conversations with the LGBTQ+ community. Making small changes in your way of thinking or speaking can make everyone on your team feel respected and give a strong sense of belonging.
Do Not Say ‘normal person’, ‘real man’, ‘real woman’; instead use the term cisgender
The use of ‘normal’ or ‘real’ implies that something is wrong with whomever falls outside these perceptions. Be more inclusive and exact. It’s better to draw from the social literature this time, using the prefixes cis and trans before gender.
Use Sexual Orientation Not Sexual Preference
Preference implies a conscious choice. Using the word orientation reinforces who the person is and is a trait of their identity.
Use the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Not the Gay Community
Every person within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is an individual. The more we use this term the more we’ll all understand. It’s a sign of respect to shift from referring to every individual as gay to their specific identification.
Use Gender, Gender Identity Not Chosen Gender
Nobody chooses a gender. People simply have a gender (or gender identity) as part of their personality.
Using inclusive language can make project managers allies to not only the LGBTQ+ community, but also all visible minorities in the workplace. It shows that you’re paying attention and care about bringing everyone’s full selves to the workplace. This type of language acknowledges the intersectionality of people and the high complexity of human nature (no one should be diminished to a single facet of their identity). Bring everyone into the conversation. These are just a few tips to help you create a space where everyone feels welcome and at ease to give their full potential.
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