Go Ask Tara and the PDPHE Clinic are proud LGBTQ allies. We respect all people and we maintain a safe and confidential space for all.

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LGBTQ+ Competency Essentials


Describes your gender/gender identity. It is whether you feel like a boy, a girl, or something in between.
It is not the same as whom you are attracted to or whom you date.

  • Biological/Assigned Sex

    • Determined by chromosomes, anatomy, hormones, secondary sex charactheristics

    • Determined by a doctor at birth

    • Not something you have control over

  • Societal Gender

    • Includes gender roles,  expectations, and norms

    • Determined by society at large

    • Individuals usually have little control

  • Gender identity

    • An internal sense of maleness or femaleness

    • Determined by brain anatomy and hormones

    • How you see yourself in your mind

    • Not something you have control over

  • Gender expression

    • How you walk, talk and do your hair

    • How you choose to look to everyone

    • The only part of your gender you have control over


Describes how you are attracted to other people. It is whom you are attracted to and whom you tend to date. 
Sexuality is not determined by your gender, gender identity, gender expression or biological sex.

  • Sexual Identity

    • How you conceptualize your sexuality

    • Not something you can choose

    • Gay, lesbian, pansexual, bisexual, demisexual, etc

  • Sexual Orientation

    • Pattern of romantic/sexual attraction​

    • Most people are on a  spectrum between heterosexual and homosexual

    • Not something you can choose

  • Sexual Behavior

    • Who you chose to date, marry and have sex with

    • Influenced heavily by sexual identity and orientation

    • Being gay does not mean you would date/have sex with all men

Inclusive Language

The words we choose can silence us or enable us. It can be used to exclude or include.
Using inclusive language makes it clear to everyone that they are welcome and respected.

  • Use gender-neutral words when possible

    • "Children" instead of "Boys and girls"

  • Use correct gender pronouns

    • If they asked you to use a pronoun like "they", "she" or "he", use it

  • Use people-centered language

    • "Transgender people" instead of "the Transgendered"

  • Remember that gender does not imply sexuality or vice versa

  • Avoid offensive terms and language

  • This includes racist/sexist jokes

  • Use terms that reflect what LGBTQ+ call themselves

  • Use "gay" or "lesbian" instead of "homosexual"

Why Pronouns Matter

  • Pronouns imply gender
    and add context

    • "Sam is nice"

      • What gender is Sam?

    • "He is nice"

      • He identifies as a man

  • Options:

    • Male: He/Him/His

    • Female: She/Her/Hers

    • Gender-neutral: They/Them/Theirs OR Ze/Zir/Zirs

  1. Introduce yourself: "My pronouns are..."

  2. Explain why you are asking

  3. Ask what their pronouns are

  4. Use their pronouns and request that they use yours

Tips for Being an Ally

  • Stand up against discrimination when you see it

  • Educate yourself about LGBTQ+ issues

    • Don't expect LGBTQ+ people to educate you

  • Be receptive of criticism

  • If you don't know what to do in a specific situation, find a mentor

  • Use appropriate humor and be respectful

  • Listen to what LGBTQ+ people say about their experiences

  • Examine how your background gives you certain privileges or works against you

  • Do not expect credit or praise for your allyship

LGBTQ+ In The Workplace

  • Use inclusive language in the workplace and insist that your employees use it, too

  • Celebrate everyone's important life events the same way, i.e. birthdays, weddings, etc.

  • Educate yourself and your staff about LGBTQ+ issues and how they relate to your industry

  • Celebrate a diversity of holidays that are important to people of diverse backgrounds

  • Use examples that pertain to LGBTQ+ people when discussing personnel policies and benefits

  • Use gender-neutral terms when possible

  • Do not out your employees, clients, customers, etc.

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