policies

Best Practices for LGBTQ Inclusive Meetings and Events

Photo by Lori Tenney

Photo by Lori Tenney

Last week I spoke at the Meeting Planners International wonderful event, World Education Congress. You can read the article here. I spoke about the increasing gender diversity within workforces, and how that can significantly impact meetings and events - even non-LGBTQ events. Every event will have some LGBTQ attendees and it's important to aware of how this can impact your event.

Here are 5 best practices to create LGBTQ-inclusive meetings and events:

Train your front line employees to understand the fluidity of gender, remove gendered language from greetings, and serve guests whose presentation might not match their ID. For some specific tips, check out this blog post, A Person Walks into a Store...

Include pronoun identification as part of the event registration process and show pronouns on name badges, or offer as stickers at the registration desk. You can see an example from a recent Google event in the image above. Singular pronouns are no longer just he or she. Many people are identifying with the pronoun, "they." Read this post for more specific tips on using "they." 

Update your forms to include ‘Other’ as a third gender option, and gender neutral honorifics (such as Mx). Many companies are now understanding that great customer service starts with great policies that provide diverse gender options on forms. Check out this post for more specifics on how to do this and this one on gender neutral honorifics.

Allow guests to choose the restroom of their actual gender identity and create at least one gender- neutral restroom in the event space. This could mean re-branding multi-stall or single stall restrooms as gender neutral. Check out this post for some creative options.

Promote your destination, property, and/or event as an LGBTQ-welcoming space by including the community in marketing images, and using inclusive language. This means showing real life photos of real life LGBTQ folks in marketing, not just cheesy stock photos. This also means showing the diversity of the LGBTQ community in imagery, not just gay men or lesbians. Ft. Lauderdale is an excellent case study in attracting transgender travelers and events to the city.

The bottom line is to lead with inclusivity and brand loyalty and repeat attendees will follow!

For more information on any of these topics, contact us today!

 

The Transgender Style Guide

The Radical Copyeditors produced an excellent "Transgender Style Guide" for writers. It truly does an outstanding job of illustrating appropriate use of terminology as well as excellent recommendations around the use of names and pronouns.

The Style Guide answers questions such as:

  • How do I describe someone who is transgender?
  • What does gender nonconforming mean?
  • What pronoun should I use when describing someone who is transgender?

and also digs into explanations of relationships to body, anatomy, birth sex and more. 

This is an outstanding resource for all of us, writers or not, to better understand how to communicate the diversity of our team members and guests.

Non-Binary Designations Coming to State IDs

You may have seen the news that non-binary residents of California can now select X as their gender on state identification (instead of simply male or female). California is one of several areas which now allow a third gender designation. Similar laws are in effect in D.C. and Oregon.

D.C.'s law also permits individuals seeking to change their gender marker to make the change without certification from a medical provider or any other individual.

Last year, for the first time in the U.S., a judge in Oregon ruled that the state must recognize a third gender and applications for state identification have been updated to allow for the selection of X. This is notable in that the policy changed via a the court system, rather than the legislature.

Australia and New Zealand have allowed for third gender designations on passport applications since 2011 - so while this is new to a few U.S. states, these policies are changing elsewhere, too. Currently, Denmark, Germany, Malta, Canada, Pakistan. India, Ireland and Nepal also allow third gender options on passport applications.

While Gender X is the most popular third gender option, there are some which use "other" as an alternative.

With more and more people identifying as transgender and non-binary, it makes good business sense to consider a third gender on the forms used within your company. It sends a clear signal of inclusivity to guests and employees and can improve customer service.

Creative Ways to Designate Single Stall Restrooms for All Genders

There are several states in the country, and several cities, which now require all single stall restrooms to be labeled as all gender restrooms. This is the case in NYC, Denver, Philadelphia, the state of California and a few other places. These new laws are designed to ensure that transgender and non-binary people feel comfortable using the restroom (and as a positive side effect, will also cut down waits for women who often have longer lines).

When I travel around to conferences trainings and other events, I love taking photos of the "all gender" restroom signs I encounter, as well as the signs that direct guests to use the restroom where they are most comfortable. Some companies, like Starbucks and Target, established these of their own volition, while others do so in response to changes in public policies. It’s really fun for me to see how different companies are approaching this. Here are some of the signs we've spotted recently.

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Which is your favorite? Have you made arrangements within your own company to create single stall all gender signs?

Why LGBTQ-Inclusive Corporate Policies Matter So Much

Mississippi has a new law which fully legalizes discrimination. Although this law is a bit redundant, since people who are LGBTQ already have zero protections in Mississippi, this "religious freedom" law is an example of the types of bills being written and laws being passed in other states as well. I’m sure you heard the controversy over North Carolina’s HB2 law requiring transgender guests to use the restroom based on the gender on their birth certificate. Although this law was repealed and replaced with a new, "improved" law HB12, the new law remains similarly discriminatory towards transgender people.

Folks who are transgender may or may not choose to transition. The process of transitioning from male to female or female to male is purely optional. It's also expensive, time consuming and there are many trans people who do not have the resources to medically transition. Some trans folks might identify as non-binary and have no intention of going on hormones or undergoing any other procedures for transition.

For these folks who are not planning to medically transition and legally update their gender marker, these discriminatory bills and laws may be particularly scary. Essentially, these laws require someone to use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate, regardless of whether or not that is how they currently identify. With laws like this increasingly acceptable, it's important for companies to step up and provide protections for transgender employees and guests.

Does your company have an inclusive restroom policy? Has your company made arrangements to ensure that your transgender guests and associates can feel safe?