On Reacting to People’s Verbal Mistakes

If you’re someone who is passionate or even just educated on the LGBTQ Community, you tend to see the world a little bit differently. There’s a good chance that you recognize when gender roles are being assigned, when gender identity and sexual orientation are assumed, and you probably catch microagressions easily. It can be hard to hold your tongue or not get upset when someone around you makes a mistake when trying to talk about the LGBTQ Community. Here are some tips and advice on reacting to verbal mistakes.

Try Not to Get Mad

As I’ll talk about below, it’s easy to feel like everyone around you is educated on LGBTQ topics, but that may (and most likely isn’t) reality. Before even mentioning educating and conversation, remember to try not to get mad, or visibly mad. It’s easy to get frustrated, but try not to show it. I’m not trying to tell you not to show emotion, but this is likely to lead to a conversation that you may not want to have or be ready to have with the person.

Recognize that not everyone is as educated as you are

It’s easy to expect the people around you to pick up on terms like transgender and pronouns, and to know what a microaggression is. However, that’s not always the case. If a person doesn’t identify somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, there’s a good chance they won’t be educated and may not be interested. While this is annoying to realize, especially because we need people supporting us, it’s an important factor to recognize when people make mistakes.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Always be an Educator

Sometimes when people say something, those who are educated on the LGBTQ Community will really question it. Examples include things like gendering people, assuming people’s partner, and just using correct terminology. Similar to allyship, there is always a decision to question what they said or just leave it. This is hard because on one hand, there is a temptation to educate, but as I said above, not everyone is interested. Try to gauge your educating on whether you think the person who made the mistake is interested in learning, or would rather just move on.

Talk it out

Try talking to the person about how they wish to be corrected. This post was inspired by my mom. Something she told me is that she really prefers for me to make corrections on the her language after the fact because she feels it interrupts the conversation. For example, pronouns. My mom feels very strongly that correcting her on pronouns right after she says them will interrupt and disrupt a conversation, and is something that should be done later on. While I don’t necessarily agree with this, and find it hard to do, I do my best to respect her wishes.

Communicating and educating verbally can be difficult, especially when not everyone is on the same level of knowledge on a topic. This is certainly common when talking about the LGBTQ Community because oftentimes people walk on eggshells to not be offensive. Plus, in our digital age, verbal communication is hard when you can’t take things back. I hope  these tips help you for the next time you are put in this situation.




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