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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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)

My 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Trainings and Offerings

Doing what I love most on my 64th birthday – teaching a DiversityFIRST certification best practices session in Chicago (2019) prior to attending my 40th MBA class reunion.

This blog has lots of links to explore!

As we head into 2022, I thought it might be good to summarize in one of my blogs my growing portfolio of diversity consulting and training offerings.

Like the previous two years, I will continue to serve as the National Diversity Council’s Vice President of Training, where I facilitate several of their educational and certification offerings as well as serve as a consultant on staff; and I will also offer my services through my own consultancy, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer.

Please contact me at any time to line me up to work with you in 2022, or with any questions about my National Diversity Council offerings.

My work with the National Diversity Council in 2022 will include:

• Continuing to serve on the faculty of the National Diversity Council’s intensive 5-day  DiversityFIRST™Certification Program, which prepares professionals to create and implement highly successful diversity and inclusion strategies. I will facilitate best practices in inclusive recruiting, diversity councils, employee resources groups and diversity awareness / training. The NDC plans to offer 14 virtual and 2 in-person sessions throughout 2022. You can view all the dates using this link and scrolling down.

• Facilitating our ERG Academy three times in 2022: February 15, May 17 and September 27. The sessions are ideal both for organizations that want to start ERGs and for those who have them and want to make them more effective. The target audience includes ERG leaders, HR teams supporting ERGs, ERG executive sponsors, and ERG members who want to help them grow. We also offer private ERG Academies if you want to engage all your leaders in your own customized session. Check out the ERG Academy page for information and to register using the schedule tab.

• Facilitating two of our half-day DiversityFIRST™ Virtual Suite offerings: “LGBTQ in the Workplace and Marketplace – Strategy and Execution” on May 11th, and “Inclusive Recruiting, the How and the Why” on August 17th. Link to the entire 2022 Suite description page … scroll down by date.

• In addition, continuing to consult with NDC clients on overall diversity strategy, customized DEI training, forming and growing employee resource groups, forming and training diversity councils, and more!

And my own Total Engagement Diversity Services include:

• Wholistic diversity consulting services including engaging your senior leadership, doing a diversity-focused employee survey, building a diversity strategy and DEI strategy and plan execution.

I frequently do workshops on the leading edge topic of gender identity and expression, and use of pronouns

• Customized DEI training that can be delivered in person or via zoom. Training and speaking topics include Introduction to DEI, Unconscious Bias, Diversity in Language and Communications, Inclusive Leadership and more.

• Leading-edge topics in the LGBTQ+ diversity realm including supporting gender transitioning employees in the workplace, supporting non-binary employees and use of pronouns.

• Customized training for your HR teams and managers around mitigating organizational unconscious bias and inclusive recruiting.

Please do get in touch … I look forward to enthusiastically working with you in 2022!