How to be inclusive during the same-sex marriage debate

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Topics LGBTIQ+

The Government has announced that marriage equality is going to be put to the electorate via a postal plebiscite.

DCA’s long held position is that marriage equality should be achieved via a free vote in Parliament.

However, there is now going to be a public debate that is going to put LGBTIQ+ Australians in the spotlight. Research tells us that non-inclusive comments have insidious effects on individuals. Therefore now, more than ever, is the time to show your support for your LGBTIQ+ colleagues, family and friends.

As an Ally, here is what you can do:

Download DCA’s WordsAtWork: Building LGBTIQ+ Inclusion through the Power of Language (member’s only content) and follow these steps to make your workplace more inclusive for everyone.

1. Be inclusive: Language is a powerful tool for building inclusion (or exclusion) at work. The way we speak to each other creates a culture in which everyone – including people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and people who aren’t – can feel valued, respected and one of the team (included), rather than under-valued, disrespected, and out of place (excluded). 

2. Make people visible: Respectfully talking about people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer, or who identify with other sexual orientations or gender identities, can go a long way to making everyone feel part of the team.

3. But not too visible: As a general rule, if someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation is not relevant – and it is unlikely to be relevant in most work situations – then don’t mention it.

4. Have the courage to call it: If you hear people making offensive or disparaging comments about LGBTIQ+ people, or their kids, call it out. It can be difficult to call people out, but research tells us that when comments are challenged it helps not just the person who was the target, but the people around them.

DCA’s other tips

Check the electoral rollEnrol to vote and check your address is up to date so you don’t miss out on your ballot. But hurry, the Rolls close Thursday, 24 August.

Talk to your networks: Start having conversations with your friends, families, and networks about those great LGBTIQ+ people you know and why they deserve the same rights as everyone else!  Australian Marriage Equality Campaign also has some handy tips on talking to friends, family and co-workers about why equality matters.

Stay safe and connected to community: ACON have put out a great guide to help LGBTIQ+ people and their families stay resilient during the campaign.

Vote: Yes! DCA supports marriage equality because we believe it will truly cement workplace fairness and inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community. Read more about why we support it via the link below.

DCA's website and social media platforms will be updated regularly over the next few months with information and ideas on supporting marriage equality.

Additional links and resources

DCA is delighted that so many of its members are amongst the many organisations that have already registered their support for marriage equality.

Buzzfeed has produced a plain language response to an extensive range of questions around Australia's marriage debate and quest to change the laws.

This Fairfax video explains some of the serious impact that the lack of marriage equality has, using simple examples. 

Senate Inquiry has also been announced to look at the issues raised by the postal plebiscite, including, in particular protections against offensive, misleading or intimidating material or behaviour, especially towards affected communities.

Pride in Diversity has produced a useful guide on supporting employees affected by the debate on marriage equality.

If this topic raises issues for you or someone close to you help is available. Call Life Line on 13 11 44 (24 hours) or Q Life on 1800 184 527 (3pm – midnight).