Updated: Jun 4
As a parent to a Trans Non-Binary Step-Child, I'd like to share some of my personal journey this Pride Month. The LGBTQ+ community has unique communication needs that are important to address in order to promote understanding, inclusivity, and equality.
Every day that I work with clients to promote non-violent, empathetic communication, I remind myself and them that we will not always get it right. As I grow as a parent, I can tell you that when I do get it right with my Step-Child, it looks a little like this:
✅ Cultivate Empathy:
Empathy forms the foundation of compassionate communication. Take the time to listen actively and attentively to the experiences, perspectives, and emotions of LGBTQ+ individuals. Acknowledge their feelings, and try to understand the challenges they face. Reflecting their emotions back to them can help create a safe and supportive environment for open dialogue. Recognize that their experiences may have been shaped by discrimination, prejudice, or marginalization.
✅ Use Compassionate Language:
Choose words that are inclusive, respectful, and affirming when engaging in conversations with LGBTQ+ individuals. Be mindful of the impact of your language, and avoid using stereotypes or offensive jokes. Use gender-neutral language or ask about preferred pronouns when appropriate, showing respect for each individual's identity and expression.
✅ Respect Personal Boundaries:
Respecting personal boundaries is crucial when communicating with anyone, including the LGBTQ+ community. Be mindful of the topics you discuss and the questions you ask. Remember that not everyone may be comfortable sharing personal details about their identity or experiences, and it is essential to honour their privacy.
✅ Educate Yourself:
Take the initiative to educate yourself about LGBTQ+ terminology, history, and issues. Please familiarize yourself with the challenges they face, the progress made in LGBTQ+ rights, and the diversity within the community. This knowledge will help you have informed and respectful conversations, avoiding misconceptions and stereotypes.
✅ Practice Active Listening:
When engaging in conversations, practice active listening by giving your full attention and being fully present. Maintaining eye contact may seem like a small gesture, but it shows you are actively engaged and can foster a deeper connection.
✅ Reflect Before Responding:
In challenging or potentially triggering conversations, take a moment to reflect before responding. Responding impulsively may lead to unintentionally hurtful or dismissive remarks. By taking a pause, you can choose your words carefully, respond thoughtfully, and maintain a respectful dialogue. Have this conversation with them in advance so that everyone agrees that silence does not need to be awkward. Sometimes silence is necessary to process and respond.
✅ Seek Clarification:
If you are uncertain about something or have questions, respectfully ask for clarification.
However, it is important to avoid burdening LGBTQ+ individuals with the responsibility of educating you about their experiences.
Use resources like books, documentaries, or online materials to educate yourself, and approach conversations with a genuine desire to learn.
During Pride Month I commit to sharing some of the resources I have used over the years on my journey with my Step-Child. I will also share some tips for employers so that when my step-child shows up to your business, you will see them for the outstanding young person that they are.