When we use the term ‘LGBTIQ+’, we are referring to people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Questioning and other gender non-conforming identities. LGBTIQ does not cover the full range of sexualities that people identify as, but it is a helpful term for the broader community in the context of this discussion.
LGBTIQ+ people can face a high level of discrimination in their day-to-day life. If your organisation works or engages with LGBTIQ+ people, we have some tips to help you make your workplace or community space safer and more inclusive.
Use the right language
Inclusive language can go a long way to making LGBTIQ+ people feel safe and welcome. It’s important to understand that sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are related, but are separate and distinct. Avoid using umbrella terms, such as ‘homosexual’. Instead, opt for precise terminology that encapsulates how that person identifies. If in doubt, ask! LGBTIQ+ people are usually happy to tell you what their preference is and will feel safer and more accepted if you stick to that.
To an LGBTIQ+ person, confiding in someone about their identity can take a lot of courage. It is very important that you keep any information people share about themselves confidential. If you talk to someone else about an LGBTIQ+ person, you might accidentally ‘out’ them. This is a breach of trust and can make them feel unsafe. By maintaining confidentiality, you demonstrate support for the person, developing a foundation of trust for a stronger relationship.
Celebrate unity and achievements
Sometimes when well-meaning people are trying to build an inclusive and safe space for LGBTIQ+ people, they unnecessarily draw attention toward differences between people. It is more helpful to recognise the common humanity that unites us all and celebrate the achievements of individuals. Remember, the goal is for a more inclusive community, one that is accepting of everyone.
Finally, don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Apologising and asking how it can be avoided in the future will go a long way to making people from the LGBTIQ+ community feel welcome.
If you’d like to know more about how Richmond Wellbeing is working with the LGBTIQ+ community, view our website or contact Richmond Wellbeing on 1800 742 4660.