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22 August 2022

Back to the Montreal Pride Live

JCCM

On August 8th, the JCCM held an Instagram Live to highlight the Montreal Pride Festival. Among the themes proposed, the importance of representation in a corporate environment, the notion of intersectionality, the concept of microaggressions as well as inclusive and gender-based writing.

More than a question of representativeness

Olivia Baker, Program Officer at Fondation Émergence, Charles Saliba-Couture, Content Editor at Words for a Cause, and Chloé Saintesprit, Manager of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Plus Company, discussed the many issues surrounding underrepresented communities and LGBTQ+ people.

Whether it's in the film industry, advertising, or even within popular culture, the importance of representation is unanimous. More importantly, the way the LGBTQ+ community is represented in the mainstream media and the abolition of stereotypes. According to Charles Saliba-Couture, it is essential that popular culture does not reproduce stereotypes, but deconstructs them.

In the workplace, despite visible signs of progress, many challenges remain. Indeed, a McKinsey study on The State of the LGBTQ+ Community in the Workplace demonstrates the issues facing this community.

Among the statistics highlighted are:

  • LGBTQ+ women - particularly women of color - are much more likely to be the sole representation within their workplace ;
  • LGBTQ+ women and trans people are underrepresented at all stages of the management pipeline.

Olivia Baker of Fondation Émergence also shares an interesting fact, stating that 32% of LGBTQ+ people hesitate before coming out in a corporate setting for fear of harming their career.

As a result, having openly LGBTQ+ people at different levels of the hierarchy significantly improves an organization's sense of inclusion and security.

People in these underrepresented communities want change. It is a collective need for social justice to have a better representation of society. To reflect what it really is.

Chloé Saintesprit, Manager of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Plus Company

Micro-agression

The term "microaggression" was first used in 1970 by Chester M. Pierce, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard University, to describe the insults and injustices experienced by African Americans.

Over time, the term has evolved to mean the internalized reflection of homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, grossophobia, ageism and other types of discrimination. Based on prejudice, microaggressions are not always easily discernible, as they may be intentional or unconscious.

In the same vein, Charles Saliba-Couture explains that a micro-aggression may be micro in its form, but the impact becomes macro as the action is repeated.

Microaggressions are like a drop of water that always falls in the same place, at the end of the day, it hurts.

Charles Saliba-Couture, content writer at Les mots pour la cause

Fair Writing

Inclusive writing is not a new concept and it is increasingly integrated into everyday language and the professional field. But what are we really referring to when we talk about inclusive writing? First of all, we need to understand the nuances that exist between epicene writing, non-binary writing and other writing methods.

Epicene writing allows us to generalize and neutralize the sentence in order to avoid mentioning gender in a text. By opting for "Hello everyone", we avoid a form of exclusion.

Non-binary writing, often used by the LGBTQ+ community, uses another method and instead creates neologisms, aka new words, to promote inclusion.

Since Inclusive writing affects more than 50% of the population, it is a real proof of recognition and respect.

Inclusive writing isn't just for gender diversity communities. It also allows cisgender women to feel included in the text.

Olivia Baker, program manager at Fondation Émergence

As a company, in addition to inclusive writing, it is also possible to add employee pronouns in the email signature. The goal? Better orient your writing according to the person you are addressing. As Charles so aptly put it, "inclusive writing is not just a way of writing, it is also a way of thinking and conceiving of the world and others."

Recommended documents during the Live