The international day against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia is observed on the 17th May and aims to raise global awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBTQIA+ rights work worldwide. In order to truly drive systemic and sustainable change, we must come together to not only condemn hate against the LGBTQIA+ community, but to become anti-queerphobic. This article will define queerphobia and discuss ways in which individuals and employees can adopt an anti-queerphobic mindset so that all identities are included, supported, and celebrated in the workforce and beyond.
What Is Queerphobia?
‘Queerphobia’ describes the hatred directed towards members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Queerphobia includes homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and all other forms of hate towards LGBTQIA+ identities.
‘Queer erasure’ has historically, and continues, to be one of the key drivers of queerphobia and it describes the process of stripping away the existence of LGBTQIA+ people from records, books, and media content, as an attempt to ignore the existence of such identities and minimize representation as much as possible.
When queer erasure has previously failed, there are many historical and present examples of purposefully negative media representations that direct hatred towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly prevalent in the modern world of social media and content creation, and it is done to create negative biases and reactions towards queer identities.
So, what can be done about it?
Recognising And Unlearning Biases
The first step to becoming anti-queerphobic is to actively start to unpack internal biases and recognise how the media and other influences have misinformed opinions about the LGBTQIA+ community.
People with LGBTQIA+ identities have not chosen to be queer, but deserve to be their authentic selves and be proud of who they are.
Despite what the media can often imply, LGBTQIA+ people are not causing any harm to others by simply existing and being themselves. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite; many people within the LGBTQIA+ community are involved in fighting for various types of social justice and are actively working to make the world a better place where everyone can be themselves without bias, discrimination, or hatred.
A good way to recognise bias is to internally question why a certain thought or feeling has arisen, and to consider different perspectives. Remaining open minded and consuming a diverse range of literature, art, media, music, and other content can be a great way to reshape the way we think and feel about identities that are different from our own identity.
Changing The Gear Out Of Neutral
After questioning and unlearning biases, learning new perspectives, and becoming more understanding of different identities – now is the time when people can not only become accepting to the LGBTQIA+ community, but can also choose to be unaccepting towards discrimination and hatred.
Allyship doesn’t take a neutral stance, but instead requires action that is actively supportive of underrepresented communities.
Having said this, we all have different ways of handling situations and different preferences on how we contribute to social situations. It’s important to remember that these differences are absolutely valid and anti-queerphobia can manifest in many different types of actions.
Examples Of Actions That Are Anti-Queerphobic
- Sharing diverse content and positive media representation for more people to see. This could be in the form of sharing books, music, and films that offer LGBTQIA+ perspectives and reframe negative connotations into positive ones.
- Donating to charities and initiatives that address the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are providing solutions and support.
- Supporting LGBTQIA+ colleagues in the workplace by ensuring their voices are heard in meetings, offering a safe space for them to talk, celebrating their work, and ensuring they’re valued in the organisation
- Speaking up when hearing discrimination and hate, and making sure to not participate in harmful actions or narratives
- Supporting LGBTQIA+ owned businesses by shopping there, recommending their products or services, and sharing their content to help with promotions
- Always ensuring that LGBTQIA+ freelancers are paid for services within your organisation, such as speaking events or training sessions
- Continuing to unlearn biases, consider new perspectives, and maintain the anti-queerphobic mindset in both home-life and work-life
Diversio helps organisations to uncover biases by exploring employee experience, comparing intersectionalities, and analysing data. With a tailored approach, solutions and resources are then provided to address biases and create a measurably more inclusive workplace.
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