- Don’t assume someone is or isn’t LGBTIQ because of the way they look or what you see
- Don’t assume the gender of someone’s partner
- Treating everyone the same is not necessarily meeting their individual needs So sending a gay man to a men’s behaviour change program not tailored to gay men is not meeting that person’s needs.
- Create a welcoming, confidential and culturally appropriate environment for LGBTIQ people
- Use inclusive language, for example change the word ‘spouse’ to ‘partner’, don’t use ‘mr’, ‘miss’, ‘mrs’, ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ at all or until you are sure that it does not offend anyone
- The LGBTIQ community is actually not a community but a range of communities and cultures and sub-cultures and people’s experiences can differ greatly which mean that we are not one homogenous group. That means not all lesbians are the same, not all gay men are the same, not all trans people have the same experiences
Frequently asked questions:
Is it OK to ask a client questions about their gender/sexuality?
Of course you’ll need to get some basic information about your clients, such as their preferred pronoun and the pronoun of their partner if it is relevant to your work with them. What you ultimately want is to create an environment which is comfortable for your client to disclose to you the information which is relevant for you to know.
When LGBTIQ people are identified as such, many workers often focus on their sexual orientation or their trans identity or their intersex status rather than the presenting issue, such as the abuse they experience or perpetrate.
It is OK to ask the questions you need to ask in order to provide the right support. But you don’t want your client to feel that they need to educate you, the professional, first in order to get satisfactory service.
If we have two women presenting at our service who are in a relationship with each other and both claim that they are the victim and the other is the abuser, what can we do to understand the dynamics and essentially figure out who is the abuser and who is the abused?
Work with what is in front of you, putting your assumptions aside and listening and not making any rash decisions. We know that the more’ masculine’ one in the relationship is not necessarily the abuser though it is still common for people to automatically make that assumption. Ideally both parties need to get adequate support which is why being familiar with all referral options is ideal to get help for everyone involved.