Allyship through Language
Updated: Feb 22
By Anna Collins Maling, MA, LGPC, NCC
June is Pride Month. While inclusivity is always a relevant and important topic, Pride Month is an opportunity to highlight ways that we can learn, advocate for, and support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Here is my take on inclusive language and the importance of learning and, potentially, feeling uncomfortable. As a cisgender, straight, white woman, I can honestly say that I am, at times, intimidated and anxious about language. I worry I’ll say the wrong thing, excluding an important and marginalized group, or offend someone unintentionally. I don’t want to “get it wrong.” I believe that this fear is what stops many individuals from learning and growing.
You might, and likely will, make an embarrassing mistake. Growth can be painful and uncomfortable. Those in marginalized communities experience pain, discomfort, and many other things in ways that I cannot fully understand.
Those of us in a normative group have a very important job. Listen to those in minority groups. Take the time to educate ourselves. Learn from our mistakes. Lean into the discomfort.
Here are a few of the ways that you can use inclusive language:
Replace this….With this
Pregnant Woman/Mom Mom/Mother …Gestating parent Pregnant/Birthing person
Breastfeeding…Chestfeeding Nursing Lactating
Father/Dad Husband/Spouse…Co-parent/Partner Non-gestating parent Birth Partner
Gay marriage Same-sex marriage…Marriage