Back in August a complete misunderstanding on Twitter lead to a really great conversation with my friend Carrie about the non-binary gender identity. We recorded it for my podcast, The Millennial Agenda, and I couldn’t be more proud of the episode. Carrie is someone who has always inspired me and so many others and to have this conversation with them in an effort to educate myself, was nothing short of amazing.
You can check out the episode wherever you listen to podcast or just hit play:
If you are wondering what you can do to step up as an ally for non-binary people, here’s some information that I found very useful and have already put into practice for myself!
There are many ways to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their gender identity. Our language and the way we speak is often embedded with hidden gendered cues.
Once we start to notice them, we can move towards using language that’s inclusive for all. Here are 10 tips you can start using right away!
- Introduce yourself with your name and pronoun. Stating your pronouns reminds people that it might not always be immediately obvious what pronoun someone uses
- Put your pronouns in your email signature or social media profile
- Instead of addressing groups of people with binary language such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’, try more inclusive alternatives such as ‘folks’, ‘pals’ or ‘everyone’
- Use words that define the relationship instead of the relationship and gender. For example, use ‘parents’, ‘partner’, ‘children’ or ‘siblings’
- Not everyone is comfortable with gendered titles such as ‘Ms’ or ‘Mr’. Titles are not always necessary, but if they must be used it’s good to provide alternative ones such as ‘Mx’ (pronounced mix or mux)
- Use the singular ‘their’ instead of ‘his/her’ in letters and other forms of writing, i.e. ‘when a colleague finishes their work’ as opposed to ‘when a colleague finishes his/her work’
- Not everyone necessarily uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ pronouns and it’s important to be respectful of people who use different pronouns. The most common gender-neutral pronoun is the singular ‘they’ (they/them/theirs). Using people’s correct pronouns shows that you respect them and who they are
- Using the pronoun ‘they’ is very useful when someone’s gender or identity is unknown. You will often already be using it without realising, i.e. ‘somebody left their hat, I wonder if they will come back to get it’
- Make sure that your workplace, school and college policies and documents use inclusive language, i.e. using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’ and avoiding sentences that imply two genders. Where specifically talking about gender identity, make sure it is inclusive of non-binary gender identities and not just trans men and trans women
- When highlighting LGBT people in your events or as role models, make sure you include some non-binary role models too
It may take a bit of getting used to, but it causes you no harm and it will make that person feel acknowledged and valid.