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July 23, 2018 | by  | in Presidential Address |
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Presidential Address

I have an interesting problem that pops up quite a bit in my job — I’m not fully comfortable speaking on issues that don’t reflect my experience. A big focus of mine is trying to get people who want change into the room themselves, but this is not always possible.
When it comes to issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community, I probably struggle the most. But it’s my job to advocate, and I’m going to share with you how I try to stay on the right track.
First, don’t be a dick. As well as being generally good life advice, it’s especially relevant here. If someone tells you their pronouns, just use them! You don’t have to “get it”, you don’t have to make someone explain themself. It’s far easier to just respect someone’s request. I get this one wrong all the time too, but the world isn’t going to end if you refer to someone as “they”, “he”, or “she” because they ask.
Second, try learn something. It’s okay to not understand someone’s perspective, but if your lack of understanding is causing problems, you should try learn a little bit more. This doesn’t mean using somebody as a learning resource (unless they are happy with that). A Google search might do as well.

Finally, if you get something wrong, just take it on the chin. If you drop the F or T bomb, and someone calls you out on it, a sincere “Yeah fair enough, sorry team” is fine. You don’t have to spend half an hour justifying yourself because mate, and you know who you are, everybody just wants you to shut up and move on.

I hope this advice is helpful. It’s really not hard stuff, and I think you’ll find that if you apply these tips everything starts to make a bit more sense. It’s not about politics or ideology, it’s about respecting people.

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