As workplaces become more diverse and inclusive, it’s important for straight and cisgender people to understand and support their LGBTQI+ co-workers.
While respect and inclusivity should be the standard, here are five things your LGBTQI+ co-workers may wish you knew:
1. We’re Not All Fashion Experts
Contrary to popular belief, not all LGBTQI+ individuals are fashion mavens. Just because we identify as LGBTQI+ doesn’t mean we automatically have an innate sense of style. So, don’t be surprised if you see us rocking the same outfit for the third day in a row or wearing socks with sandals. We’re not all fashion-forward, and that’s okay. But feel free to ask for fashion advice, and we’ll do our best to help!
2. Our Lives Are Not a Sitcom
While representation of LGBTQI+ characters on TV has increased, it doesn’t mean our lives are like a sitcom. We don’t all have a quirky best friend, and not every day is filled with hilarious mishaps. Our lives are just as complex, mundane, and ordinary as anyone else’s. So, don’t expect us to be the punchline of your jokes or expect us to constantly provide comic relief. We’re more than just comedic sidekicks, we’re multi-dimensional individuals.
3. We’re More Than Our Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Being LGBTQI+ is just one aspect of our identities. We have other interests, hobbies, and talents that define us beyond our sexual orientation or gender identity. So, don’t reduce us to just being “the gay one” or “the transgender co-worker.” We’re multi-faceted individuals with diverse experiences, and we bring a lot more to the table than just our LGBTQI+ status.
4. Our Personal Lives Are Our Business
Just like you wouldn’t expect your co-workers to divulge the details of their personal lives, the same goes for us. Our sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationships are our private matters. So, don’t pry or make assumptions about our personal lives based on stereotypes. Respect our privacy, and let us share what we’re comfortable with sharing when we’re ready.
5. Allies Are Always Welcome
As much as we appreciate support from allies, it’s not necessary to announce your allyship every time LGBTQI+ topics come up. We appreciate genuine support and inclusivity in action, rather than performative gestures. So, you don’t have to start every sentence with “As an ally…” or wave a rainbow flag to show your support. Just treat us with respect, use inclusive language, and create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.
Understanding and supporting your LGBTQI+ co-workers goes beyond stereotypes and assumptions. We’re individuals with unique experiences and perspectives, just like anyone else. So, let’s foster a workplace that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and mutual respect.
And remember, a little humour can go a long way in building positive relationships with your co-workers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Cheers to a more inclusive and laughter-filled workplace!