I was unable to attend the 1 year vigil for the murder of 49 humans in Orlando on June 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. The photograph above, taken on June 13, 2016 in Washington, DC, captures some of the emotion that’s felt when remembering what happened.
I am about to post photos of this past weekend’s Capital Pride (@CapitalPrideDC) events in Washington, DC.
Before I do that, I wanted to write about some things I’ve been experiencing personally and professionally in the last year that I suggest people work to address.
It’s great that we’re joined in parades and celebrations, however, we need to reconcile that activity with activities that are needed year round. A few suggestions are below, based on actual situations. If you don’t understand what’s being asked or know what the right answer is to these questions, post in the comments or contact me, I’m happy to educate.
- If you are a publication, are you using accurate and compassionate language in your writing, instead of inaccurate and triggering language? Are you a @DailyDot (an exemplar) or are you a @USAToday or @NPR (both need work) See this post: Thanks for publishing my photo AND listening, DailyDot, in “What Does Transgender Mean, and How Do People Transition?”
- Do you manage comments on articles, as several publications do successfully, or do you allow unhealthy or anti-LGBTQ sentiment to be posted without any recourse?
- If you are a company or organization that employs people, are you creating an open environment or are you directly or indirectly requiring people to “fit in”?
- When LGBTQ employees report issues with others’ behavior, are they the ones tasked with resolving them?
- In organizational communications, are anti-LGBTQ sentiment or statements tolerated?
- On discussion boards
- On company intranets
- In events or meetings
- Do you respond to people’s requests to listen with “I’m trying to help you.” or do you start with “Tell me more?”
- Are employees’ names correctly reflected in all aspects of their work experience? This includes computer logins, payroll and benefits systems, email, etc.
If there is one bisexual man in your unit his fitting in depends on how open to diversity your unit is. It is NOT based on how hard he tries to fit in.UK Army LGBT Forum
- If you’re in health care, do you speak of LGBTQ health care, or more specifically transgender person care, as something that’s “difficult” “complicated” “expensive” or name-your-pejorative?
- If you’re not sure about whether you or the organization you’re affiliated with are doing any of the above, do you know who to ask, or do you assume it’s not happening?
- When you encounter an organization or company that’s behaving in a discriminatory way, do you let them know via social media or other means? Maybe you shouldn’t. Instead, work to help the world love better. Read this piece by a young transgender man humiliated by an eating establishment for some advice: Thanks for publishing my photo and #WhatAParentLooksLike: Trans Discrimination: From Lunch Counters to Refused Hot Wings
- Have you considered a mentor relationship with someone who is LGBTQ that you don’t supervise or otherwise have control over, on an ongoing basis, to review behaviors and attitudes with a lens toward improvement?
- Do you call yourself “an Ally” or do you work to be an Ally in the eyes of those who it matters to? See this post: WAIT = Why am I Talking? Learning how to be a better Ally
All of these activities (or lack thereof) have a significant impact on the health and wellness of LGBTQ people, their families, and the communities around them.