How to be a Good Ally to Non-Binary People
RTA Team Leader, Anna Molloy, has been researching how to be a good ally to non-binary people. Here she shares some tips, re-ordered from Stonewall and Teen Vogue (links at the bottom):
1. You don’t have to be an expert in order to be a good ally. Many people haven’t heard a lot about non-binary genders and that’s OK. You don’t need to understand someone’s gender in order to respect them.
2. Don’t assume someone’s pronouns or gender just by the way they look or dress. Just because someone may look feminine or masculine doesn’t mean their gender is female or male.
3. Use people’s names if you are unsure what their title or pronouns are.
4. Put your pronouns in your email signature and social media profiles.
5. When talking to groups of people, use gender-neutral terms such as ‘everybody’ or ‘folks’, rather than gendered terms, such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’.
6. Use words that define the relationship instead of the gender. For example, use ‘parent’, ‘partner’ or ‘sibling’.
7. Titles are not always necessary, but if they must be used it’s good to include a gender-neutral title on your company’s information forms, such as Mx (pronounced mix or mux). This is good for you to be aware of as well, so you know how to address people when contacting them.
8. Use the singular ‘their’ instead of ‘his/her’ in letters and other forms of writing, i.e. ‘when a colleague finishes their work’ as opposed to ‘when a colleague finishes his/her work’.
9. It’s important to respect people’s pronouns and use their correct ones. Not everybody will use ‘he’ or ‘she’. The most commonly used gender-neutral pronouns are they/them/theirs but there are many more.
10. Using the pronoun ‘they’ is very useful when someone’s gender or identity is unknown. You will often already be using it without realising, e.g. ‘somebody left their hat, I wonder if they will come back to get it’.
11. Make sure that your workplace, school and college policies and documents use inclusive language, i.e. using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’ and avoiding sentences that imply two genders.
Sources and further reading: