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May 29, 2024

Being an Ally to your LGBTQ+ Colleagues

Stacey J. Drubner, JD, LICSW, MPH

Being an Ally to your LGBTQ+ Colleagues

Here are some things you can do as an ally:

  • Be a listener
  • Be open-minded
  • Be willing to talk
  • Be inclusive
  • Don’t assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need
  • Anti-LGBT comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive
  • Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so
  • Defend your LGBTQ friends against discrimination
  • Use preferred pronouns
  • Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect

-Adapted from GLAAD

Spotlight: Jaime Quinkert PhD (they/them/theirs)

Being a good ally with pronouns

Insights from Jamie Quinkert, Assistant Director, MGH Center for Clinical Research Education and Communications Officer, MGH LGBTQ Employee Resource Group. The EAP appreciates Jamie speaking with us to offer some guidance about how to navigate pronouns. Some of us may be nervous about saying or writing the wrong thing. Jamie emphasized that no one expects you to be perfect. The important thing is to be open-minded and respectful of individual preferences.

Some Considerations are Below:

• Pay attention to how people sign emails, identify in Zoom meetings or presentations, and reflect this back
– This might be relevant to names and pronouns as well as to people who do not identify as LGBTQ. Many people go by preferred names, nicknames, or middle names

• If in doubt, it is perfectly OK to ask the person how they want to be addressed
-This is preferable to making assumptions

• If you do make a mistake or mis-identify someone, apologize in the moment or later if that is more comfortable. Make the adjustment for future communications

• If you are addressed with the wrong pronoun, respond if and when you feel comfortable doing so. Take a deep breath and use a gentle tone when correcting the person

The EAP website offers guidance on being an Advocate or Ally  and has a robust LGBTQ Section with resources on topics of interest to the LGBTQ communities and those who support them.

Employee and Student Resource Groups

Below is some information on LGBTQ Employee and Student Resource Groups at Mass General Brigham and Harvard.

For full EAP LGBTQ workplace resources visit our LGBTQ page.

Contacting the EAP

The EAP offers free and confidential services for employees and immediate household family members. EAP records are separate from medical and HR records. Contact the EAP at 866-724-4327 or request an appointment via our online form for confidential assistance. In-person appointments are available at the following locations. Phone or Video (Zoom) appointments are available from all locations.


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