n June 2021, ASP’s Diversity and Inclusion committee ran our first ever Pride Month roundtable. This event was organized to celebrate ASP’s LGBTQ2S+ employees and their allies, and to address and understand the various issues LGBTQ2S+ individuals face in the workplace. I had the pleasure of co-chairing this roundtable with two remarkably special guests, Christine and Tanner Parkinson. Tanner, like me, identifies as an LGBTQ2S+ individual, and his mother Christine has publicly come forward as an advocate for our community. When I say they publicly demonstrate their commitment I truly mean it – Christine and Tanner were both interviewed by CTV News and CHCH in May 2021 after their Pride flag was stolen from their front lawn.
We kicked off the roundtable by discussing how acts of discrimination and harassment, both inside and outside of the workplace, have personally impacted many of us. Our attendees demonstrated bravery and vulnerability by sharing their own experiences with the group. This discussion led to some fantastic brainstorming and key takeaways that our Diversity and Inclusion committee will consider when designing inclusion initiatives.
LGTBTQS+ Pronouns & Terminology
One important topic of conversation that was raised during the roundtable was the importance of understanding and respecting LGBTQ2S+ pronouns and terminology. It’s important to note that these definitions are continuously changing, and they simply serve as a starting point in understanding LGBTQ2S+ identities and issues. If you ever have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our diversity and inclusion committee for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pronouns are used in place of a proper noun, and we often use them when we are referring to someone without using their name. In English, the most common pronouns we use refer to one’s gender. For non-binary, transgender, gender non-conforming and queer people, these pronouns may not fit, and mistaking or assuming someone’s pronouns without asking first can be harmful.
Imagine if someone referred to you with the wrong pronoun – this would be upsetting, especially if you’ve corrected them already before.
You should never assume you know someone’s gender just by looking at them, and you should always respect the pronouns they select. Some of the most commonly used pronouns include, but are not limited to:
- Name – some people prefer their name being used in
- place of pronouns.
The below terms are defined by the Government of Canada, and they provide a basic understanding of LGBTQ2S+ terminology. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and these terms could change in the future.
An inclusive term most commonly used in Canada. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Two-Spirit and additional sexual orientations and gender identities.
A person who identifies with the gender they are assigned at birth.
A person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of their same sex or gender identity. Traditionally this identity was reserved for men, but it has been adopted by people of all gender identities.
A person whose gender identity varies over time and may include male, female and non-binary gender identities.
Typically a woman who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other women.
(also ‘genderqueer’). Referring to a person whose gender identity does not align with a binary understanding of gender such as man or woman.
It is a gender identity which may include man and woman, androgynous, fluid, multiple, no gender, or a different gender outside of the “woman—man” spectrum.
A person whose choice of sexual or romantic partner is not limited by the other person’s sex, gender identity or gender expression.
Historically a derogatory term used as a slur against LGBTQ2 people, this term has been reclaimed by many LGBTQ2 people as a positive way to describe themselves, and as a way to include the many diverse identities not covered by common LGBTQ2 acronym.
A person who is uncertain about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity; this can be a transitory or a lasting identity.
Gender expression refers to the various ways in which people choose to express their gender identity. For example: clothes, voice, hair, make-up, etc. A person’s gender expression may not align with societal expectations of gender. It is therefore not a reliable indicator of a person’s gender identity.
Internal and deeply felt sense of being a man or woman, both or neither. A person’s gender identity may or may not align with the gender typically associated with their sex. It may change over the course of one’s lifetime.
(also ‘trans’). A person whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.
(also Two Spirit or Two-Spirited). An English term used to broadly capture concepts traditional to many Indigenous cultures. It is a culturally-specific identity used by some Indigenous people to indicate a person whose gender identity, spiritual identity and/or sexual orientation comprises both male and female spirits.
The goal of our Diversity and Inclusion committee is to continue making ASP an inclusive environment where all employees are respected, valued, and given every opportunity succeed. Our June 2021 Pride Month Roundtable was instrumental in helping us achieve this goal. We encourage all of our employees, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, to consider how you can be an ally to your LGBTQ2S+ coworkers. Addressing your colleagues by their chosen pronouns and not making assumptions about them is a great place to start. If you have any questions about LGBTQ2S+ terminology or issues, please contact our committee at email@example.com