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Equity Lens: Language Matters

The acronym LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term for folks who are not cisgender and/or are not heterosexual. The “plus” added to LGBTQIA acknowledges the many identities which LGBTQIA does encompass. Regardless of someone’s identity, it is imperative to respect the words someone uses to describe themselves.

Learn LGBTQIA+ terms and why language matters.

What about pronouns?  Why do they matter?

For queer, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, and transgender people, he/she pronouns may not fit, can create discomfort and dissonance, and can cause stress and anxiety. Using pronouns is like calling someone by their given name. Using the correct pronouns can be a way to respect someone, and it promotes an inclusive environment. Lastly, it is important to understand that gender and sexual orientation are extremely private topics of conversation, so when someone chooses to share their pronouns with you, it is not an invitation to ask probing, personal questions about their gender, sex, and/or preferences.

Learn more about pronouns and why it matters here and here

Today’s word - “Intersectionality”

Intersectionality is the balance between our merging identities and the singular lived experience that comes as a result. Coined in 1989 by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw to refer to the compounding impacts of simultaneous racial and gender discrimination and now widely applied within many social justice spaces, intersectional theory gives language to the complex layers that make up each of us, uncovers where they intersect, and highlights how we then experience the world as a result. Without it, efforts to address injustice, inequality, and inequity will never fully meet the needs of the people impacted.


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