June is LGBTQ+ pride month. Although education & self-reflection should be ongoing, now is the perfect time to educate yourself on subtle, but harmful microaggressions, comments, acts and looks, progressively deconstructing implicit bias.
Here are three things you should not say to a member of the LGBTQ+ community:
“You don’t seem gay”
This insinuates you have an mental representation of what a gay person should look like. No one should have to convince you of their gender, sexuality, preferences and more. Comments such as this one simply reinforce unhealthy, harmful, false stereotypes.
Don’t try to relate to them by bringing up a LGBTQ+ celebrity or family member
Although you may mean no harm & simply aim to form a connection with someone, this type of comment can make it seem as though you do not actually care about them beyond a superficial level. It can demonstrate that this is what you need in order to relate to them as opposed to simply seeing them for who they are & what they THEY embody.
Assuming one’s pronouns
Don’t be afraid to inquire about someone’s preferred pronouns upon meeting them rather than assuming based on their looks.
“So are you the guy or the girl in the relationship?”
This question is harmful in any context, reinforcing false stereotypes. Assigning traditional gender roles to individuals expecting them to fulfill ingrained stereotypes is restrictive & sexist. Gender roles are not essential to a healthy relationship.
Keep in mind that learning takes time. Dismantling ingrained stereotypes takes time, it is difficult, it can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Let’s keep working, together.