Diversity’s Latest Frontier – Nonbinary People and the Use of Pronouns – 6 Points and Resources

One reason I love working in the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) field is because it continues to grow and evolve. It is exciting to consult and train in an area that does not remain stagnant, but brings new challenges each year.

One topic I have been really enjoying is the growing awareness and presence of nonbinary people and use of pronouns. In fact, last June, I got more LGBTQ Pride Month speaking requests for this topic than any other!

What is this all about? Simply put, all aspects of humanity are on a spectrum and not always one way of the other. Society in general for so long has insisted that someone is either a man or woman, is either male or female. In reality, many people deep in their core feel that are a combination of genders or no gender at all. A few years ago, this concept was referred to as “gender nonbinary,” but now the best terminology is simply “nonbinary.”

Here are some points and resources around nonbinary people:

1) There are different terms that some people use in place of nonbinary. They include Genderqueer and Gender Expansive.

2) Many nonbinary people use the pronoun “they” instead of identifying with he or she. If a nonbinary person lets you know that they use the pronoun “they,” it is respectful to then refer to them as “they” when talking about them.

Two time US pairs figure skating champion and 2022 Olympian Timothy Leduc (tall person in the middle) has recently come out as nonbinary. Link to article.

3) Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary listed “they” used as singular non-gendered pronoun as their “word of the year” in 2019! Read the article here.

4) The leading LGBTQ+ Workplace Advocacy organization Out and Equal Workplace Advocate makes available a comprehensive guide for use of pronouns in the workplace. This resource (link) is focused on practical guidance for  implementing successful practices and norms around pronouns in the workplace.

5) Companies and organizations wanting to attract bright young talent need to make sure the language they use in recruiting and job postings are inclusive of nonbinary people and those who support them. Instead of using “he or she” when writing about job responsibilities, simply use “they.”

6) Even when speaking to an audience, starting off with “ladies and gentlemen” is not inclusive. It is better to address an audience with “Greetings distinguished guests” or “Hello everyone!” In her new book “Inclusive 360 – Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization” (read my blog about this fantastic book), Bernadette Smith gives lots of advice for interacting with nonbinary employees and customers.

Bottom line – it is all about respect! There should be no difficulty in treating people and addressing people are they want to be treated and addressed.

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Do please be in touch ([email protected]) if I can provide a training session for your team on use of pronouns. I love speaking on this topic. Thanks! Stan Kimer (he / him)

Happy New Year – My Top 7 Blogs of 2019

One of my top blogs of the year just published in mid December deals with how the huge proliferation of robocalls are ruining our lives and productivity.

I am now enjoying this annual tradition of reviewing my website statistics for the past entire year and listing my top seven most read blogs as a New Year feature.  And this year, since there was a tie for 7th, I will feature 8 blogs.

I normally blog about my two areas of consulting a few times each month: Diversity with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace; and career and skills development based on my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping process. And once in a while I throw in a more personal blog or rant about something that is irking me.

In 2019, only three of my top 8 were published this year; the rest were first published in previous years, but people are finding them by web searching on various topics. Six of the top 8 dealt with some kind of diversity topic, one was around career development, and one a personal rant about the dramatic disturbing increase in robocalls.

Here are the “Top 7 of 2019” in reverse order:

7) Tied for number 7 was a blog about including people with mental illness in the diversity discussion. It featured a game-changing organization, the Farm at Penny Lane, and its many innovative programs to integrate people with severe mental illness into the mainstream.

Also at number 7 was a blog that reached this height for the year even though it was not published until mid-December and only had a few weeks to run. It’s title: “Help this blog go viral and create a movement – shut down all robocalls.” Robocalls are ruining our way of life and destroying productivity.

6) Blog #6 was also published in December and reached this level quite quickly – In “Five Examples of LGBTQ Equality – It’s Equal Rights, Not Special Rights,” I dispel this myth of so-called “special rights” by sharing five examples.

5) Number 5 was the 2014 – 2016 number 1,the 2017 #2, and the 2018 #3, actually published way back in 2011! As many people search for online resources about diversity training, they found and read my 2011 blog “Three Components of Diversity Training,” where I discuss three major components required for diversity training and exactly who within an enterprise should be trained. I have also updated that blog to include links to more resources including to a blog sharing a sample outline of diversity and inclusion training contents.

An illustration of a partial career map as interest in skills and career development grows.

4) My fourth most popular blog was last year’s number 5 – “Three Wonderful Recent Examples of Diversity and Sports,” in which I provide short summaries with links about an NFL football player with one hand, an WNBA player who is a new mother with her wife, and a college track star who overcame a harsh abusive upbringing in Africa.

3) And a surprising number 3 this year was my blog published way back in 2011 on using career mapping as a tool for career development. This new-comer to the list may signal an increased focus on the importance of investing in skills and career development as a way to recruit and retain the best employees. You may also want to check out my 11-question Skills Development and Career Road Mapping organizational self-assessment.

2) Number 2 for the second year in a row was “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People”, a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

2019 Pair Skating Champion Timothy LeDuc (center with partner Ashley Cain-Dribble, my parents and me) is one of my featured out gay skaters – they’re a great community advocate

1) And finally, by a complete runaway with over 13,000 hits across the two blogs was last year’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman) and my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.”

Thanks to all the readers who enjoy and share my blogs. In 2020, if you want to be notified each time I do publish, you can like my business facebook page (Link), or if you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, I include a short summary and links to the past month’s writings.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful 2020 filled with much contentment, success and probably a wild and crazy US Presidential election year!