The 21-year-olds in my house are doing lots of adulting things like getting a new apartment and for one of them, a new job. They have been delighted and maybe a little surprised that both places have included a place for them to share gender identity and sexual orientation, honoring and respecting who they are.

We saw this same attitude of inclusion as we searched for gender-neutral clothing in preparation for the wedding. It makes me happy to know that there are so many places around us that are inclusive and affirming, even as I know that there is so much work to do and so many places and people who choose hatred instead of acceptance for this community. But I digress.

Here's what I'm wondering. If you are filling out a form for whatever reason and you have the opportunity, do you indicate your gender identity or sexual orientation? I'm assuming (dangerous, I know) that if an organization includes these questions on a form that they genuinely want to know and are trying to be inclusive. Is that enough though? I have no problem wearing buttons or pins with my pronouns, but I'm not sure I would share this information on a form. The folks in my house are divided. One is fine sharing pronouns and sexual orientation on a form, the other is not. Both are happy to share with friends and family, in safe spaces. 

Is it a fear of being judged? Is it a fear of retaliation? Is it fear for safety? Is it more of a not knowing for sure what our pronouns are?

I want to believe that people are being genuine when they ask about pronouns or offer ways to honor sexuality. I just think that if we are to truly become Allies, we have to dig deeper. Inclusion is not a one size fits all kind of deal, and we owe it to the people that we love to reach beyond the pronouns and the pride flags so that we can really understand, really support, and really be in community with each other.

Kudos to every single inclusive person, business, or organization out there. You are paving the way. Now let's all pitch in, dig a little deeper (respectfully and with care), and make that road to understanding smoother for everyone.

Until next time, thanks for being here and being part of the community.

Lots of love,

Ellin (cis-gender female, she/her)

*Photo from our wedding preparations at Men's Warehouse in Durham where my child gets to dress up fancy in the clothing of their choice without fear of judgment. Particular thanks to Derrell Wright for helping us out. You go Men's Warehouse! 

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