How Do I Learn The Language?

Non-LGBTQ+ people may get anxious hearing – let alone being expected to use – language they don’t understand or simply aren’t used to. At this point, you might be flipping back to the LGBTQ+ glossary or additional recommended resources. And while that wouldn’t be the worse thing to do (definitely learn your terms), there are many other steps you can take right now to grow in your understanding and use of language.

  • Listen to the words a young person uses to describe themselves.
  • Remember that avoiding harmful and inappropriate language is not the same thing as using affirming language. 
  • Don’t roll your eyes at the growing LGBTQ+ list.
  • Acknowledge that an individual’s language – identifying markers, names, and pronouns – might change.
  • This is true for every teenager.
  • Avoid binaries about gender (boy/girl) and sexuality (straight/gay) whenever possible, and not just with queer youth.
  • Start to take note of how often you use binary gendered language, and make an effort to reduce or eliminate it from your work with youth.

From “Welcoming and Affirming: A Guide to Supporting and Working with LGBTQ+ Christian Youth” by Leigh Finke – Broadleaf Books

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