- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

Simple tips for LGBTQIA+ inclusive language

4th July, 2023

Simple tips for LGBTQIA+ inclusive language

It was another glorious Pride march here in London on Saturday.



One of my personal highlights was seeing this fantastic (empty!) hearse from the Francis Chappell & Sons Funeral Directors.  What a way to go out! 


It saw in the end of Pride month.  But hopefully not the end of our efforts to be more inclusive all year round.


So I’m sharing again this brilliant guide by inclusive language consultant Ettie Bailey-King:


Language that liberates: 10 practical tips for LGBTQIA+ inclusive language


Here are my top 3 key takeaways:


1. Avoid assumptions


Ettie writes: ‘You can’t guess someone’s orientation from looking at them […]


Use the singular ‘they’ if you don’t know someone’s pronouns e.g.:


“Someone called for you.”

“Did you get their name?”

“No, they didn’t say.”’


I now follow Ettie’s guidance when taking questions in my live keynotes, pointing to ‘The person in the red shirt’ instead of making assumptions with ‘The woman at the back’.


2. Pronouns made easy


Ettie suggests treating pronouns like names – it’s ok to ask people what theirs are, and it’s ok for them to sometimes change.


(And, she adds, you don’t have to ask in a hushed whisper – there’s nothing to get embarrassed about!).  Ettie also published a great guide to pronouns if you’re keen to understand more. 


3. Learn how to apologise


Ettie writes that if you make a mistake you should:


  • Thank the person who corrected you. 
  • Try not to make it all about you with a massive, theatrical apology. 
  • Say sorry. Mean it.
  • Focus on not making the same mistake again.


I hope these tips helped you as much as they did me – do read Ettie’s whole blog as it’s well worth it.

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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