Some commonly asked questions to help young mob find strength in their identity.
What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and the plus symbol represents the many other gender identities and sexualities that aren’t included in the acronym. There are a few variations of the acronym but they are all pretty similar.
How do I ask someone their pronouns?
Asking someone’s pronouns can be a very simple question as long as it is done respectfully. Simply asking ‘what pronouns would you like me to use?’ can usually do the trick. You can also include your pronouns when introducing yourself and it might encourage others around you to do the same. If you are unsure of someone’s pronouns you can use they/them until they have made it clear what they prefer.
How do I use they/them when talking?
Some people are initially confused about incorporating they/them into their language but don’t realise that they already do it when they refer to people they don’t know the gender of for example “my friend is coming over, when they get here can you open the door?”. This is how you use they/them when someone uses those pronouns as well. Instead of “she is my friend” you would say “they are my friend”
Minus 18 have developed a pronoun app/game that you can play to fine tune your ability to use correct pronouns. This can be found here: https://pronouns.minus18.org.au/
What can I do to support/help my LGBTQIA+ family member/friend?
The best thing to do is stand by them and be accepting and understanding. Its ok to have questions as long as you are respectful when asking them and your friend or family member will appreciate you wanting to understand them better. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ communities doesn’t change who they are as a person. You can also help to educate those around you to be more understanding and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ communities which helps to make society as a whole a safer.
I think I might be gay/lesbian, etc. – how do I know?
It can be confusing while you're growing up to know for sure how you identify and how you identify may change over time and that’s ok. At the end of the day only you know how you feel/identify but becoming familiar with the terms and doing some research may help you be more certain. Otherwise you can always just say you are ‘questioning’ until you feel that you have decided how you identify.
How do I deal with other people’s prejudice’s?
If someone is being homophobic/transphobic/prejudice towards you or making you feel uncomfortable/unsafe, firstly ask them to stop and then go find someone you feel safe with or you trust who can help you calm the situation. It's also good to talk to someone if you are upset so that you. Discrimination is not ok and if it is taking place in school/work or by those with authority over you it is important to tell someone so the situation can be made safe for you.
Image source: Koorie Pride Victoria.