Back in 2012, when I met with my mastermind group to discuss the release of my podcast (a.k.a. an online radio show), the primary topic of discussion was around what should I name my show. Out of the 4 people in the group, 3 are allies and 1 is LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), and all of them are business owners. As we were talking about the possible names for the show we reached an impasse (in the words of the great Dr. Sheldon Cooper.)
I am an advocate and a champion for the entire LGBT community. I don’t leave anyone behind in the work that I do. So naturally I wanted the name of my show to have LGBT in it. However the most genius phrase came out of that discussion.
Do you hear the beauty in that phrase? You have to speak our language to change our language.
Education around LGBT
I spend my days educating people on how to market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way and often times I am talking with representatives within large companies who are allies. Never underestimate the power of straight allies to the LGBT community. They are super important in helping move the equality movement forward.
So what’s my point, you may be asking yourself? The one common thing stated over and over again in that meeting was, “…you can’t use LGBT because not enough people know what it means. You need to use gay.”
The thought of titling my podcast with gay and potentially alienating the rest of the LGBT community made me cringe a bit.
But the statement of “You have to speak our language to change our language” – I cannot ignore. If I want to educate allies to the community on what LGBT stands for, I first need to get their attention with something they know – gay. Everyone knows the broad and encompassing word gay.
So I am here to get you thinking about what terminology you are using? Is your internal language different than your external language? If you are LGBT, do you take offense when a company says gay when they mean the whole community? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
My intentions are to catch the attention of the business community with the word gay and educate them at the same time with LGBT, so they will soon begin to see one and associate it with the other. Some might view this as a Herculean effort and yes I might be just one small piece to a much larger puzzle, but we have to start somewhere, right?
So as you are planning your marketing efforts to reach the LGBT community, consider the following;
- what terminology are you using?
- are you saying gay or LGBT?
- are you using the word transgendered (if yes, read my blog post on why you shouldn’t)
- is your messaging to the community authentic?
Also, if you haven’t read my 3 part series on marketing to the LGBT community, I highly recommend taking a look.