On Pay, Partners, and Porn Star Project Names

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

Photo of a gold desk lamp, turned on.
Photo of a gold desk lamp, turned on.
Photo by Timotej Nagy from Pexels

1. Pay people equitably

We’ve said this before, and, because of recent news, we’re saying it again. Pay people equitably for doing the same job. Professional soccer players. Chief curators at museums. Emergency medical service providers. The list goes on.

Are you sure your company is paying people equitably? Maybe it’s time to shine a light on the topic and ask some questions.

2. Don’t “deadname” your customers

MasterCard recently rolled out a “True Name” program. As reported in the Washington Post, “Cardholders will soon be able to swap out credit, debit or prepaid cards with their ‘dead name’ with new ones featuring the names they actually use. Experts say it’s a first for the financial services industry.”

The article goes on to explain, “Deadnaming refers to using the birth name of a transgender person that conflicts with their gender identity.”

Think about how customers interact with your products. Are you inadvertently deadnaming them? Or do you allow them to use their true name?

3. Ask about someone’s “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife”

To make small talk with someone who’s wearing a wedding band, consider asking “How did you meet your partner?” As opposed to, “How did you meet him?” Or “How did you meet her?”

This suggestion comes from 11 Simple Ways You (Yes, You!) Can Make Your Workplace More LGBTQ Inclusive. The author interviewed an entertainment executive who shared, “I am engaged. I wear a ring. When you want to know things like how we met, ask, ‘How did you meet your partner?’ as opposed to, ‘How did you meet him?’ I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been apologized to because of their assumptions about my non-existent husband.”

4. Don’t name projects after porn stars

Who doesn’t love a good code name? Something catchy that puts a smile on our face while giving us a sense of spirit and purpose for our work.

What isn’t cool (or inclusive) is naming your internal projects after porn stars. Turns out this is the practice at Badoo, creator of one of the world’s largest dating apps.

5. Speak up when you spot idea hijacking

Let’s say someone says something insightful or even game-changing in a meeting, only to have it dismissed or ignored. Then someone else says the same thing later and it’s well received — or maybe even heralded. While the second person gets the kudos, the person who originally said it starts fuming inside.

Unfortunately, idea hijacking happens all too often in our meetings, and usually to people from underrepresented groups.

Here’s a simple way to speak up when you notice it happening. Say, “I see you agree with the point Ana made earlier.”

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Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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