2SLGBTQI+ inclusivity is no longer a “should” when it comes to event planning – it is a requirement to have a successful event in 2023. A focus on inclusion needs to be weaved into every aspect of the event planning process, down to every detail. No matter the type of event, virtual, hybrid, or in-person, there are opportunities to make your event 2SLGBTQI+ and SOGI inclusive.
Let’s make sure we’re talking the same language…
2SLGBTQI+ is an acronym for two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex while the + represents other ways for individuals to express their gender and sexuality.
SOGI is an acronym for sexual orientation and gender identity. Unlike 2SLGBTQI+, SOGI is not a list of identities. It is an all-encompassing subject or topic that is relevant to all individuals, including those who identify as straight and/or cisgender.
As a straight and cisgender individual, how can you advocate for inclusivity and why is it important?
Inclusivity and representation improve the overall engagement and experience for all of your attendees. It also widens your reach and audience to include the members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community. As an ally to the community, you can educate yourselves and promote inclusivity in all aspects of their events.
The support for the community can be as simple as working with venues that offer all gender restrooms or developing an inclusivity policy that is enforced with zero tolerance for inappropriate language or behavior. These small details can help to make your attendee experience more inclusive and enjoyable for all.
Your language matters
Selecting intentional and inclusive language can make all the difference in making your attendees feel welcome and understood. Make sure you are eliminating the use of outdated languages such as transvestite (the more appropriate term is crossdresser) or transgendered (the more appropriate term is transgender).
Use 2SLGBTQI+ glossaries and resources to familiarize yourself with terminology and meanings to ensure you are using the language appropriately and removing any personal assumptions you may have about specific terms.
Think about representation
Consider how you are representing the 2SLGBTQI+ community in your selection of speakers, panelists, and other entertainers. It is important for the community to feel represented at your event. This also will allow for a positive connection to your brand as many individuals are making it a priority to support openly inclusive companies.
Representation also applies to vendor and supplier selection. Look to local 2SLGBTQI+ business directories or speak to your vendors to see if there are community partners you can bring on for your event or support.
Extend inclusivity and representation to your event marketing by including photos of a variety of different SOGIs. Have a peer review your marketing materials to ensure the representation feels authentic and goes beyond including a stock photo.
Change it up
Here are some quick changes that can be made to help your event be more inclusive.
Change this to that:
- Men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses TO Cocktail attire
- Ladies and gentlemen TO Distinguished guests
- Requiring pronouns on name tags TO Optional pronouns on name tags
- Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms options TO Include Mx.
- Pronoun selection from a list TO Fill in the blank pronoun option
To sum it up
There are many ways to improve the inclusivity of your event and ensure all members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community feel welcomed at your event. Focus on reducing any instances where “othering” may occur and instead make them an opportunity for inclusion. All attendees deserve to feel safe, understood, and acknowledged regardless of their SOGI. As we like to say at Tycoon Events – it’s all in the details.
– Your Tycoon, Kassidy XO
**This blog post was first published in 2022 and has been updated to reflect best practices in 2023.**