A Guide to being Welcoming with Others.
- Introduce yourself with your preferred pronouns. When asking what someone’s name is, ask what their preferred pronouns are.
- Avoid assumptions about someone’s sex and gender
- When working in a service or school type setting where you may call out a name and/or look at ID to ‘register’ a person; if the name on the ID and the name offered to you are different, be sure you are in a private place to make the clarification, not in public where others can hear. Many people have been “outted” in this type of situation and it can have devastating effects.
- Consider using terms like partner, significant other, or spouse rather than boyfriend/girlfriend
- Consider using terms like everyone or folks when addressing a group of people
- Use the phrase “kid friendly” rather than “family friendly” for events
- Connect people based on interests, not gender, sexuality, or age
- Never ask about genitals, surgeries, body alterations or medications in a social setting
- If some personal and intimate information is shared, smile warmly and show appropriate empathy for the information shared. People will feel safe with you and have just been vulnerable.
- Say something like, “that couldn’t have been easy to share” and assure them it will be held in confidence.
- Engage the conversation only for what is appropriate to your friendship and their comfort, say something like, “is it alright if I ask some questions? I understand if it’s not and I can just listen if that’s what you need.”
- Consider sharing something intimate/personal in return.
- Be mindful of the pattern for compliments. (This is particularly true when complimenting children)
- Do you give compliments to someone in the same situations every time?
- Is it always about how they look? When they dress particularly feminine or masculine?
- Is it always centered around stereotypical behaviours?
Ways to get a conversation going:
- I don’t believe we’ve met, my name is ______ and my pronouns are ________.
- Tell me about yourself
- Is there a story behind your name?
- This is only really fun if you partake too!
- What did you think of the event?
- What do you do for fun?
LGBTQ++ Terms for Reference
Please note this is a working document and not all terms may be included in this list. It is a starting point.
Gender: who someone is: female, male, both, a mixture, neither.
Gender Expression: the ways in which someone’s gender is outwardly expressed, by appearance, speech, and behaviour. Gender expression is commonly used to express someone’s gender, however, this isn’t always the case (as with people who don’t feel safe expressing their true gender)
Sexuality: The way people experience and express themselves as sexual beings
Preferred Pronoun: The way in which people would like to be referred to in conversation. Commonly used pronouns are
- xe/hir/hir/hirself (pronounced: zee/here/here/hereself)
- ze/zim/zir/zirself (pronounced: zee/zim/zere/zereself)
Transgender: someone whose body doesn’t reflect their gender. This term is used primarily for people who are women or men
Intersex: someone whose body is some combination of woman and man. For some, this is a gender and one of the definitions from the other terms would suit their identity. For others this isn’t a gender, and one of the other terms in its entirety would suit their identity.
Non-Binary: someone who is neither a woman, nor a man, but rather some combination of the two.
Gender Fluid: someone who has a fluctuating gender, who easily moves between woman, man, and any combination in between
Agender/Non Gender: someone who is neither woman, nor man, nor any combination of the two
Queer: an alternative term for any of the above term. This term is also used as a general umbrella term for people who aren’t a woman and aren’t a man.
Cisgender: someone whose body reflects their gender. This term is primarily used for people who are women or men.
Sexual Attraction: a desire for a sexual relationship and sexual contact with a person
Romantic Attraction: a desire for an emotional and intimate connection with a person
Homosexuality: sexual attraction to the people of the same gender
Heterosexuality: sexual attraction to the people of the gender that they are not
Bisexuality: sexual attraction to both women and men. This term is often used to mean attraction to people who are women, men, any combination of the two, or neither.
Pansexuality: sexual attraction to a person, regardless of appearance or gender
Demisexual: someone who feels sexual attraction only when there is an emotional connection formed
Asexuality/Non-Sexuality: romantic attraction to a person, without the feeling of sexual attraction. Commonly coupled with the prefixes above as: heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, to express romantic attraction towards a group of people
Aromantic: attraction to a person, without feeling romantic attraction
Queer: an alternative to any term above, generally used as an umbrella term