CLICK BELOW TO REDISCOVER HUMANITY

Make Your Business More LGBTQ + Inclusive

As last week came to a close, troubling anti-LGBTQ+ legislation was signed as a “religious freedom” adoption bill was enacted. Dennis Daugaard, governor of South Dakota, is responsible for pushing this piece of backtracking legislature.

A post on the New Civil Rights Movement elaborates on this timely bill:

“This is the first anti-LGBTQ bill that any state has signed into law this session…Governor Daugaard’s action not only puts the best interests of the more than a thousand vulnerable children served by South Dakota’s foster care system at risk, it signals the potential of a dark new reality for the fight for LGBTQ rights.”

This will likely equate to discrimination against parents who are single, interracial, non-Christian, or those who identify in any way other than cisgender and hetrosexual. It will also narrow the number of possible living situations for kids in need of adoption or foster care. Both the children in need and LGBTQ+ parents are facing turmoil around this unjust new law.

And this is only one example of the difficulties that LGBTQ+ people regularly face.

Queer people (the umbrella term for those who identify as LGBTQ+) must jump ‘life’s hurdles’ at the rate of an Olympic athlete. This is a reality they will continue to face each day, unless everyone works together to create a place of work that feels comfortable and radiates equality.

Do your part as a business owner or employee, as the thought-provoking points below will provide you with context to make workplaces and businesses more inclusive to the wonderful people within the LGBTQ+ community!

Stop Making Assumptions

Some people are nonbinary, and that is absolutely okay! Not everyone believes in gender binaries; not everyone believes in sexual binaries either.

Simply put, this means that there are people in the world who think that gender is more complex than a biological male and female assigned at birth. This is one of the reasons we should all do our part to use gender-neutral language. Strive for language that doesn’t project assumptions like “man or woman” or “husband and wife”.

Keep this in mind: if someone talks about dating a person of the opposite sex, it’s not your call to assume that the person is hetrosexual! Use terms such as ‘partner or significant other’ instead of labels that assume gender and sexual orientation.

Avoid using gendered pronouns he/him, she/her unless you know for a fact that a person wishes to be called by that specific gendered pronoun. The compromise is simple, use the pronoun ‘they’ instead. Inevitably, once you are acquainted, just ask them their preferred pronoun.

They will appreciate this sentiment so long as you ask in a genuine way that is supportive and kind. Simply ask: ‘what’s your preferred pronoun?’ or something respectfully along those lines.

If you are uncertain why some people prefer the singular ‘they’ as their pronoun, check out this project I Heart the Singular THEY.

Remember: it’s not appropriate to ask someone about their genitalia when asking which pronoun a person preferred! It’s a common misconception that a person’s gender is solely dependant on their physical genitalia. Just because a person has male or female sex organs, doesn’t automatically make them predestined to that gender identity.

In the case of intersex people for example, gender is a grey area. It’s not as ‘black and white’ as penis and vagina. Don’t assume someone identifies a certain way just based on their appearance.

An Inclusive Approach to Workplace Culture

“Culture, in my mind, is the single most important attribute to successful companies. Inevitably, when things don’t go well for a company, the culture is what has a lot to say about whether or not you make it.”

The above quote, borrowed from a Fiscal Tiger article titled Workplace Culture: Will You Fit?, says a lot about the significance of an inviting workplace culture. As I’ve written before on BizCatalyst 360, company culture can make or break a business.

At it’s core, make sure the culture of your workplace or business aligns with everyone, of all identities and genders. Model your employee handbooks and business ideologies after laws set in motion for equality. A perfect example of this is Title IX, which states:

“no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

From a moral standpoint, this obviously shouldn’t stop at an educational context. This concept of being non-exclusionary segues into just about anything you can think of. No one should have to feel discriminated against, or denied services or benefits simply because they don’t view gender and relationships the same way as mainstream America.

Make Bathroom Options Available

This is one of the most persistent challenges that transgender and gender nonconforming people face: the simple humanistic right to comfortably use a bathroom. This sparks tremendous controversy for some.

For whatever reason, people just cannot get over the fact that they might have to share a bathroom with someone who is not ‘naturally born’ a gender which matches a sign.

Perhaps, why we are all so paranoid about trans people in bathrooms, is because we’ve unfortunately been conditioned to do so for a generations. But this must stop!

But what if I told you the solution is actually already here? And what if I told you these created ‘bathroom politics’ do not hold up in reality.

Introducing, gender-neutral, private, unisex bathrooms, or as I like to call them, bathrooms!

Image via Moss Design

A progressive architecture company called Moss Design has taken a design-minded approach to the issues of gender and the human right to use a toilet. They point out that multi-stall bathrooms are not as efficient as everyone believes. Bathrooms we see today in most public places are more costly because the partitions (stall dividers) could be replaced by something else entirely: walls.

This not-so-out-there ideas calls for restrooms with multiple, single-occupancy rooms. Despite this being contrary to typical U.S. bathroom architecture, I’m still baffled that more public bathrooms aren’t separate rooms.

A consistent argument opposers to gender-neutral bathrooms have is that there are safety and privacy concerns when trans people use public bathrooms. However, wouldn’t building more unisex bathrooms actually create more privacy at the throne? What would you rather have to divide toilets, stalls or walls?

Personally, I’d rather not have my coworker’s staring at my shoes from the stall over, poop-shaming me every time I have to go number two at work. But maybe that’s just me (please comment below if you disagree)?

Workshop Together

Continue to challenge your own perceptions on gender and sexual orientation if you aren’t already We have to work together in order to create inclusive spaces.

And that involves listening to LGBTQ+ people, as well as setting up support groups for them. Workshopping together also helps answer questions people may have about contemporary beliefs on gender. This is a fantastic way for people to become more educated.

This is crucially important, because the U.S. needs more diversity within organizations, businesses, and places of work. When more diverse groups of people are able to work in harmony, there’s increased problem solving, recruitment, creativity, productivity, and energy, among many other positive outcomes.

Lastly, if you are looking for some resources on be sure to start by reading over BizCatalyst 360’s Gender/Diversity/LGBT vertical. And keep pushing your self-education on LGBTQ+ culture by reading the following resources and articles:

Avatar
Robert Parmer
ROBERT Parmer is a student of Boise State University, ex-chef and barista, and adamant writer. He stepped away from the kitchen life three years ago to pursue freelance writing endeavors, and enjoys writing about business, health/wellness, and cats.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Robert, great points! I think it’s important to remind people that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable when you’re not sure how to handle a situation or you’re not sure how to determine what pronoun someone prefers. But if you’re willing to stay open-minded, you’ll be able to get past the “newness” of the idea that there are more than two clearly delineated genders. And then we can all get back to business. :-D

    • Hi Carol! Thanks for your comment :)

      I couldn’t agree more! At the same time it’s important for people to self-educate and remain open to the variety of ways people express their gender identities.

      You’re so right: then we can all be happy work in a comfortable, workplace of equality.

  2. In Ontario, Canada, a bill C-16 was passed.
    https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-16/

    It included LGBTQ2 protection under human rights. But here’s the problem, the way the bill was worded, it makes it illegal to not use someone’s preferred pronouns. Illegal meaning if someone who was gender fluid decided today they’re a male, and you called them a “she” because yesterday they were a female, well you can be taken to court and/or go to jail.

    Another example is that you’re a business and your employee looks like a man but identifies as a woman. If this employee was interacting with customers, the business may lose money if this employee decides to wear a dress at work.

    After passing, Bill C-16 went through a lot of debate. And through that debate data and statistics research came up that argues that the multiple gender identities may be null and void. Rather than trans-gender the majority are trans-trenders.

    Despite quite a few research studies that provide hard evidence that a majority of gender identities do not exist, Bill C-16 has set a precedent to further laws that are more rooted in identity politics than actual psychology research and evidence.

    Personally I think the law in South Dakota was passed in to become a precedent so what happened in Canada won’t happen in South Dakota.

    • Hey Chris, thanks for you weighing in with your thoughts and opinions.

      First off, I think you are exaggerating the legal consequences of Bill C-16 as it pertains to misgendering/use of wrong pronouns. You make it seem as though accidentally calling someone by the wrong pronoun will get you instantly thrown in jail–not the case.

      Laws like these are put into place to help protect people being taunted, bullied, and discriminated against. Those most affected people who are trans, gender nonconforming, intersex, and everyone under nonbinary/queer umbrella.

      I understand that many people, yourself included (correct me if I’m wrong), think that a “male-looking” person wearing a dress to work, for example, is somehow offensive, even shocking. I’m sorry that you are close minded with your mindset of someone who would choose to express their gender identity this way. If you are a business owner, maybe a compromise would be unisex work uniforms/dress codes?

      All of that aside, you comment: “the majority are trans-trenders” is a bit distasteful and problematic in my opinion. You’re obviously allowed to have your own personal beliefs and opinions on gender and gender politics. But I’d encourage you to open up a bit and realize that these people are not “trans-trenders”, rather, they are human people trying to be happy and comfortable.

      • Here are my responses based on snippets from your post.

        “First off, I think you are exaggerating the legal consequences of Bill C-16 as it pertains to misgendering/use of wrong pronouns.”

        I can tell you didn’t read Bill C-16. Legal consequences can happen because the language it has is just too vague. “gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor”. What does that phrase even mean? Also there is precedent. A comedian was taken to the Human Rights Commission because he dealt with a lesbian heckler during his routine; the same way a comedian deals with any heckler. Because he made fun of her she filed a complaint with the Commission on the grounds that she was discriminated against. It was taken to court. The comedian now has to pay out $30,000 as a fine. Of course he’s filing for an appeal. If he doesn’t pay the fine, he will go to jail.

        “Laws like these are put into place to help protect people being taunted, bullied, and discriminated against. Those most affected people who are trans, gender nonconforming, intersex, and everyone under nonbinary/queer umbrella.”

        The Canadian Human Rights Act has laws already in place. And they’ve been there for years. Their is psychology research and evidence to say that “LBTQ” does exist, so it’s good that the act already includes them. However, there is no evidence that “non-binary” and the other gender identities actually exist. Until credible evidence is provided, the other gender identities should not incorporated into law. We should not incorporate such things into the law because it’s 2017, or because of “feelings”

        “I understand that many people, yourself included (correct me if I’m wrong), think that a “male-looking” person wearing a dress to work, for example, is somehow offensive, even shocking. I’m sorry that you are close minded with your mindset of someone who would choose to express their gender identity this way. If you are a business owner, maybe a compromise would be unisex work uniforms/dress codes?”

        This wasn’t my point. If an employee acts in this way the business has no leverage to have the employee comply with a dress code or even terminate the employee. The moment the employee feels discriminated against any shape or form the business can be taken to court; and can be fined.

        “All of that aside, you comment: “the majority are trans-trenders” is a bit distasteful and problematic in my opinion. You’re obviously allowed to have your own personal beliefs and opinions on gender and gender politics. But I’d encourage you to open up a bit and realize that these people are not “trans-trenders”, rather, they are human people trying to be happy and comfortable.”

        My personal beliefs have nothing to do here. I base my position on data and facts where I can find them. I’m not sorry that objective and measurable evidence hurts your feelings.

        • Hey Chris,

          I did read Bill C-16 and stick by my original points regarding the bill.

          But what point did I say my feelings were hurt? I appreciate your comments, but to be honest, your responses have homophobic and transphobic qualities to them.

          For this reason I’m done engaging with you. Not because I’m hurt or offended, because I don’t support/partake in dialogue that furthers negative stigmas (your comments “lesbian heckler” and “trans-trenders.”)

          It’s clear we won’t see eye to eye on this. Thanks for weighing in, I hope you have a great week.

          • I beg your pardon? Are you reading the same posts I’m writing? What I feel here is you made up your mind about me and just cherry pick what I wrote. Why do you use just words as your evidence, yet not my full sentences?

            “I did read Bill C-16 and stick by my original points regarding the bill.”

            I’m giving the impression that you skimmed Bill C-16 and applied your confirmation bias. Tell me, how many minutes do you think of the legal consequences? Did you even do a quick google to read more on the examples I included?

            “I appreciate your comments, but to be honest, your responses have homophobic and transphobic qualities to them.”

            Sir, I am not responsible for what you think the pretext of my statements are. You and I disagree, that’s fine. But you don’t provide the sentence where I did what you described; you just throw in “homophobic and transphobic”. I don’t think you’re using these words in the right way. Heck, even the way these words are thrown around now today, they don’t mean anything anymore. They’re just used to silence someone.

            “For this reason I’m done engaging with you. Not because I’m hurt or offended, because I don’t support/partake in dialogue that furthers negative stigmas (your comments “lesbian heckler” and “trans-trenders.”)”

            You say you’re not hurt or offended but you’re telling me that you’re disengaging. Why? People usually say this when their ticked off with someone (I forget the psychology term for the behavior). “Negative stigmas”, what does that really mean? “Lesbian heckler” and “Trans-Trender”. These words, how you use them makes them sound like slurs. These are terms used in legal documents, blog posts, and on YouTube. They were never used as slurs in those contexts, so why are you interpreting them as so in my posts? I limited all that I posted based on legal precedents up here in Canada.

            “It’s clear we won’t see eye to eye on this.”

            I glad you’re clear, but I’m still confused on what we won’t see eye to eye on. It’s pretty obvious that we’re having two completely disjointed conversations. I’m talking about legal consequences of what happened in Canada; yes they happened. And you in turn are using passive aggressive attacks and saying things about me that are borderline libel.

            “Thanks for weighing in, I hope you have a great week.”

            So you’re free to say what you want, some of them that can be taken as pretty nasty and then you “thank me”?

            First, I support the LBQT community and feel protections should be in the law. Canada already has them.

            Second, I don’t support underhanded, manipulative, and Marxist behaviors in protests, media or social media. You used some of these tactics in your posts. All I provided you was with legal precedent on poorly written laws for LBQT and their legal consequences. I provided evidence. You provided no evidence. Instead you classified what I provided as “negative”. Evidence is neither positive nor negative.

            Third, when people do what you just did, despite best intentions, it gives the whole LBQT community a bad name. It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s just the way many people think.

            Final thoughts. You wrote this to me: “But I’d encourage you to open up a bit and realize that these people are not “trans-trenders”, rather, they are human people trying to be happy and comfortable.”

            As I said before, until there is medical and psychological observable and measurable evidence, I don’t think any gender identity ideology should be incorporated into law just because it will make people feel good aka “happy and comfortable”. That’s a bad precedent. Where will it stop? Watch “Demolition Man” to get some humorous ideas.

            I’ll end with this. You, you currently have the freedom to do anything you like as long as it doesn’t infringe on the freedoms granted to others. That said, do you want in law something that China has already written in law? (Can’t talk bad about certain topics and support groups ideologies unquestionably.) Is that the country you want to live in?

            Learn about the history communism. Learn that the first kind people they will get rid of is me. Learn that the second kind of people they will get rid of is you.

    • Elaborating on my previous post, let’s take a deeper dive. Bill C-16 will be incorporating the following language into the Canadian Human Rights Act.

      “evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor”

      The wording “gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor” is not very specific. Gender identity is a vague phrase and can mean quite a few things. Subjective feelings are driving the definition and not objective data and facts. I feel Tumblr and not psychologists is driving what that phrase means. “Expression” and any ‘similar factor” is very vague as well. It can refer to fashion sense, behavior, or even a currently trending subculture.

      There is this government body in Canada called the Human Rights Commission. http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca. With filing a complaint with the Commission, the language in Bill C-16 can lead to negative consequences. When someone is gender fluid, and I use the wrong pronoun for him/her I can be taken to court. This is because if that person feels uncomfortable with what pronoun I used, (s)he can file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission that they faced discrimination. Historically the Commission’s judgments are in favor of the complainant, so if it does go to court I will be fined. If I refuse the fine, I can go to jail. Now, here’s another one. If I am a manager, I can hire someone really qualified to interact with customers. Then one day I find out that the person I hired now identifies as a woman and starts wearing bright red dresses. Some of our customers are uncomfortable with that and we start losing our repeat business. In the past when someone was driving customers away, they would be terminated. Under Bill C-16 that termination can be seen as discrimination. So no termination. What about moving the person to another area of the company? Well, that could be seen as discrimination too depending on how that proposed move emotionally effects the employee. Businesses have very little protection with a disgruntled employee decides to file a complaint with the Commission.

      The problem I have with Bill C-16 is that the language gives a wide open door to people abusing the law based on how they subjectively feel; may that be in the real world or online. From what I read how the Act is now, the LGBTQ2 community is already protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

      What Bill C-16 is suggesting is just too vague to be incorporated into the Act.

▼ EXCLUSIVE FREE ONLINE EVENTS ▼

BREAKING NEWS

PROUD RECIPIENT OF THE WEB MARKETING ASSOCIATION 2020 "STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE" AWARD

▼ ESSENTIAL READING ▼