Supporting the LGBTQ Community
Guest Blog: Five Simple Ways You Can Support the LGBTQ Community
As a leadership and executive coach, I regularly see challenges that the LGBTQ community faces in the workplace. Being a part of the community myself, I have experienced those same challenges in my community and at work. Some challenges we face are subtle oversights or uninformed comments. Other challenges are far worse and can begin to corrode and demoralize even the most confident person.
Although our culture is changing in many ways, there are still obstacles and barriers in front of the LGBTQ community and we could use continued support. However, oftentimes people do not know how to support the LGBTQ community or they withhold support for fear of stepping over boundaries. Here are five simple ways you can provide support and continue to break down barriers.
Be intentional with your words
Specific pronouns are important. If you’re not sure which pronouns are preferred, ask. You may feel awkward at first, but if you explain that you want to be intentional about what you say, your question will be appreciated. Also, if you’re talking about a person’s partner or spouse, ask if they are married and what they prefer their significant other to be called. This may seem insignificant, but it’s not. If you would feel uncomfortable with someone calling you the wrong pronoun or referring to your spouse or significant other as your “friend” then your LGBTQ friend or colleague would struggle as well.
Remember to invite your LBGTQ friend or colleague to events
Whether it’s at your home, somewhere in your community, or your work, inviting them and introducing them with pride is a quiet way to advocate for them and visibly show support. Sooner or later, everyone will realize that we have more in common than we realized.
Be downright bold and ask your LGBTQ friend or colleague how you can support them
Oftentimes, there are little things you can do to help your colleague, but for a LGBTQ person, asking for help can feel overwhelming and somewhat dangerous if they don’t know who would truly support them. If you offer support and initiate the conversation, you might find there are many simple strategies that could potentially uplift someone who is struggling.
Exercise your right to vote and help elect candidates who stand up for LGBTQ people
Discrimination should not be tolerated at all if we want to live in a healthy and vibrant city, state, or country. However, when so many people in our country do not have equal rights, it shows the LGBTQ community over and over that discrimination is prevalent. Voting against discrimination will not only support your LGBTQ friends and colleagues, but it will also break down barriers and lessen divisiveness.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Do any of these suggestions make you feel uncomfortable? Good. Getting uncomfortable and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is exactly how you can make sure you are growing and learning, even as an adult. Keep doing it. You might find that the discomfort doesn’t last that long anyway and so many others will benefit from your courage.
Christine Watkins Davies is a leadership & executive coach and program facilitator at Align Leadership in Denver. She is also a WFCO PEP member. She lives in Denver with her wife of almost 25 years, their 14-year-old daughter, and many pets that complete their family.