Celebrating Pride Month: New ways to use our voices
Helping people utilize the power of voice is what Speech Processing Solution does every day. But in honor of Pride Month this June, it’s important to call attention to giving a voice to those who are historically underserved and underrepresented. As Pride Month approaches and we look forward to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, we strive to find ways to stay as informed and supportive as possible.
Self-education is a critical part of allyship – it’s a tangible demonstration of effort to understand and empathize with others. As such, it’s important to understand some fundamental ways to show solidarity when interacting with LBGTQ+ friends, family, coworkers, etc.
Using Preferred Pronouns & Gender-Neutral Language
While it may seem like a small gesture, using language that respects and accommodates people’s identities shapes the way we think and is vital to driving change on a wider scale. It’s now commonplace to include preferred personal pronouns on things like social media profiles or email signatures, this use of language must also include gender-neutrality when appropriate. One example is the way we refer to occupations, which has traditionally skewed male (police officer, firefighter, mail carrier are a few illustrations of using gender-neutral versions of titles). The more frequently these terms are used, the more they will become an organic part of societal language.
Learning Common Terminology
Because the LGBTQ+ sphere of our cultural lexicon is growing and changing so quickly, it may be challenging or difficult to know when and how to use the proper terminology. There are many types of identities – and associated terminology – that help members of the LGBTQ+ community feel better recognized and understood. Conversely, the effects of not staying current with appropriate vocabulary can range from mildly insensitive to truly damaging. To help advocates and allies familiarize themselves with current terminology, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is the nation’s largest LBGTQ+ advocacy organization, provides a very accessible and easy-to-understand glossary.
Consciously Acknowledging Others’ Choices
Honoring people’s identities not only respects their individual decisions but can also help them get over possible past traumas. Avoiding dead names – the given or birth name of a person who has changed their name to reflect their identity – is a common example. Referring to individuals that are transgender or non-binary by their dead name can be construed as a refusal to recognize their identity. Advocates and allies must understand that while it may feel different at first to address someone’s new name and gender, challenging the status quo is essential to growth. Committing to the effort of battling discomfort, and knowing that there will be mistakes along the way, are the path to progress.
Pride Month is a great opportunity to highlight both the successes and challenges in the LBGTQ+ community and experience them together. However, real advancement only happens when we all carry forward what we learn and truly incorporate it into the way we interact with the world on an everyday basis.
Using these tips and staying up-to-date on important developments in the LGBTQ+ space are easy yet effective ways to “talk the talk and walk the walk” of being an ally.