Everyone is welcome here
And it is important for all of us in the Spill the T guild to understand how to be allies to those in a minority or oppressed group. This page will talk about how we can be the best allies for each other. The staff expect everyone to be inclusive of each other.
Quick LGBT statistics
Just remember the RESPECT acronym, and you're off to a great start being an inclusive ally:
Recognize your privilege; some people are less likely to encounter violence or discrimination solely because of who they are.
Expect some business or confrontations to remain unfinished, but be sure to finish it.
Speak up in the face of oppression or discrimination. Do not stay silent.
Participate and get involved with members of oppressed communities.
Educate yourself on the different identities and communities of others, as well as what oppression is and how it harms people.
Confidentiality and Consent should be respected; do not “out” someone (tell others about their identity) without their permission. Do not do something someone else did not give their consent for you to do.
Take personal care and responsibility for your own actions. Apologize and listen to others when you make mistakes.
5 tips to being a good ally
Gender, Sex, Pronouns, Orientation, Behavior, & Roles
Use the drop downs to learn about the various identities and most common terms in the LGBT community.
This is the biological make-up of someone’s body. It is preferred to use the term “sex assigned at birth”. Generally, it is considered rude to reference people by their sex identity unless it is truly relevant, such as for medical purposes.
This is the identity someone uses in society. Gender is not binary and falls on a fluid spectrum.
- There are more than 2 genders (agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, demigender, etc) and there are also more than 2 sexes (intersex, etc)!
- When describing someone’s identity, use their gender, not their sex. Sex does not identify someone socially, and you cannot possibly know someone’s sex unless you’ve seen their private parts. And even if you do know what their private parts are, that isn’t anyone else’s business!
- If you do not know someone’s gender, never assume based on how they look or behave; ask them!
- Do not use “male” nor “female” when describing gender; these are terms for sex. Use “man” or “woman” instead.
This is how someone chooses to express themselves outwardly.
Gender expression and Gender Identity are not always congruent! For example, a woman might choose to express herself in a gender-neutral way.
These are the words that one wants you to use in place of their name. For example, he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, and so on.
Yes, “they” can be used as a singular pronoun. In fact, it is the recommended gender-neutral pronoun to use when you do not yet know someone’s pronouns. Avoid using “he/she” when you don’t know someone’s pronouns; this reinforces the inaccurate binary gender model.
This is a term to describe to whom someone is sexually attracted. Examples include but are not limited to straight, gay / lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and so on.
This is how someone outwardly expresses their sexuality.
This may not be congruent with their orientation! For example, a gay-identifying man might still marry a woman.
These are the socially-defined expectations of behavior for genders (eg. Men must be tough, women must be submissive, etc).
It is important to recognize gender roles in action. But it is also important to remember that perpetuating gender roles is toxic.
Common Gender and Sex Identity Terms
Use the drop downs to learn about the most common gender and sex identities and terms.
This is used to describe someone whose sex, orientation, and gender identity align according to the binary model. For example, a male who identifies man and is oriented towards women is cisgender. A female who identifies woman and is oriented towards men is also cisgender.
This is used as an umbrella term to describe anyone who is not cisgender.
- This term is not exclusively used for people who have had sex reassignment surgery. For example, an Agender person falls under the transgender spectrum.
- Trans* is an adjective, not a noun. For example, it is derogatory to say “I spoke with the transgender.” Instead, say “I spoke with a transgender identifying person.”
These are terms used to describe a man oriented towards men, or a woman oriented towards women.
Do not use the term “homosexual” to describe someone’s identity; homosexual is an adjective (not a noun) to describe sexual behavior (not sexual identity). Use gay / lesbian instead.
This is a term used to mean sexually attracted to both men and women (but not necessarily equally).
It is important to know that bisexuality is a valid sexuality, and they are valid members of the LGBT community! (That’s what the “B” in LGBT stands for)
This was a term that used to be highly derogatory towards the LGBT community. Now, it has been reclaimed and is a term that can be used in place of, or in addition to, anyone who falls in the LGBT spectrum. Queer may also be used as a term to describe fluid, or on a spectrum and changing, such as with gender.
Although most of the LGBT community recognize queer as a legitimate term, some people may still be offended by the word. Please respect those who still find issue with the word.
Asexual means that the individual does not have any sexual attraction to others. Just because someone is asexual does not necessarily mean they do not have sex nor masturbate.
Agender means that the individual does not identify with any gender; they are without a gender.
ACE is a short version for either Agender or Asexual.
This means the individual is not yet sure what their true gender and/or sexual identities are. It might also be used as a term for someone who identifies cisgender but thinks their cisgender identity might not fit them as a person… for example, someone who has not come out as transgender to other people yet.
Don’t get too wrapped up in the use of terms. However, be aware of the various different terms used in the community. Understand and remember the differences and complexities with identity. Understand the difference between trans and cis. Challenge your own thinking, and be open minded to unlearning assumptions.
A microaggression is a statement someone makes about another person or group of people regarding their identity that reinforces oppression.
An example microaggression is “That Black person is the Whitest Black person I’ve ever met.” This is a microaggression because it reinforces that being Black is not ideal and that the Whiter you are, the more accepted you will be.
Microaggressions may seem harmless at face value. However, people from marginalized groups hear microaggressions often multiple times daily. And that takes a severe toll on their psychological health and their ability to feel safe and accepted in society.
Imagine a mosquito:
Every time a person from a marginalized group hears a microaggression about their identity, it’s similar to getting a bite from that mosquito.
A single bite doesn’t seem that bad, although each bite results in an itchy bump that can last a week or two. However, considering people from marginalized groups hear microaggressions often multiple times per day, it’s similar to getting bit multiple times per day by mosquitoes. Now, you have several itchy bumps to worry about.
But it’s not just the bites / microaggressions that drain their emotional health. With all these mosquitoes trying to bite them, people from marginalized groups ask themselves every day “why me? Why did I have to be the one to be born this way and be attacked by mosquitoes / microaggressions so much? Why can’t I be accepted for who I am and these mosquitoes leave me alone?” People may also use their energy to try and avoid situations in which they will encounter mosquitoes / microaggressions. The combination of the microaggressions themselves, the inner questioning of one’s identity and acceptance, and the active avoidance of situations that could lead to microaggressions, puts a hard toll on people of marginalized groups.
Microaggressions may seem small on the surface, but they are a serious matter that should be addressed. Take care in avoiding the use of microaggressions. And when someone else uses a microaggression, do not stay silent! Call them out on it and explain why it is a microaggression and how it is harmful.
Ouch and Oops
Do not make excuses
It is very common for others to be uncomfortable with the idea that they should not argue nor make excuses when being criticized for something they did that was harmful, even if they disagree with the accusation. The idea sharply contradicts what we have been taught in society for many years. But here are the reasons why you should not make excuses:
hate speech and free speech
In most countries, people have the freedom to say what they want to say without their government preventing them from saying it. Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences; once we say what we want to say, we become responsible for the consequences of saying it. Free speech does not justify human indecency and disrespect.
What is hate speech?: This is a term used to describe certain statements or phrases said that have the sole intent to encourage violence or crime against someone for who they are. For example, saying “gay people are a sin and must be killed” is considered hate speech since you are encouraging the death of people solely based off of who they are.
Does hate speech exist?: Hate speech is not recognized in the U.S. court of law because of the high status of the first amendment. But it exists. It is disrespectful and also harmful to marginalized communities. It also reinforces oppression of minorities and makes people feel threatened for who they are. Hate speech also perpetuates and encourages an aggressive and violent atmosphere towards these people.
Is hate speech a form of violence?: No, but it can lead to violence. Hate speech perpetuates a cultural hatred of people of certain identities. Some people may choose to act on this hatred in the form of violence. So although hate speech does not directly incite violence, it reinforces hatred, which can manifest in the form of violence. People get killed for who they are because of a culture rejecting them.
How is hate speech different from microaggressions?: Hate speech directly threatens, or incites some form of violence against, someone or a community for who they are. Microaggressions are more subtle as they do not directly incite violence, but they discriminate against marginalized people.
Everyone has the right to be offended, however everyone also has the responsibility to be respectful and mindful when someone expresses offense, especially if what was said is harmful to a community.