Diversity, Gender, and the LGBTQI Community

Envato recently introduced a new, 7th value which is based on diversity and inclusion:

We thrive when we champion diversity and inclusion. We make better decisions, we’re stronger and happier, and it’s the right thing to do. It is our responsibility and privilege to be somewhere talented, value-driven people thrive. We are welcoming, respectful and supportive at work, on our sites, and in our community.

When publishing content, we need to be careful we do not exclude or offend those in the LGBTQI community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex). This short guide helps you to identify the key terms and themes to look out for to ensure we’re including every one of our readers. Whilst there are many things to look out for, this is in no way an exhaustive list.

Using the Correct Terminology

Before delving into themes, it’s good to remind yourself of terminology which is preferred and non-offensive. The most up to date guide to refer to is one by GLAAD, which has a large Media Reference Guide. If in doubt, please refer to this guide. This is also a good set of examples to review around using gender neutral language.

The Difference Between Gender, Sex and Sexual Orientation

As trans and women’s rights become more highlighted in the media, it’s good to remind ourselves of the difference between gender, sex and sexual orientation. Not all men are male and not all women are female.

Wikipedia has a great page on this, but to summarise:

Sex (male/female) refers to the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. (physical traits)

Gender (man/woman) refers to how a person sees themselves. For some transgender people, their external appearance may not be the same as internal identity. This is the difference between Gender Identity vs Gender Expression (how you see yourself vs how you externally present yourself - haircut, clothing, pronouns).

You may have heard the term “cisgender” before. This refers to people who are not trans. For example, a person who identifies as a woman who was assigned female at birth is cisgender.

Sexual Orientation (never use “sexual preference” as this implies it is a choice) refers to who a person is attracted to physically, romantically and/or emotionally. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same.

It’s worth noting that gender and orientation is not binary. Some people do not feel their identity and/or orientation can be put into a box.

Things to Look Out For

When publishing content, for example, “The Best Women CEOs in the World”, be careful to not assume all women are females. Avoid using male/female in this instance as you’re referring to the person's gender.

Heteronormative Content

We live in a world where the majority of marriages are with a man and a woman, or we may think of the family unit being a mother and a father. When we do this, we promote these ideals as the norm or preferred sexual orientations. This is regarded as “heteronormative”.

However such themes and their assumed players will instantly exclude those in LGBTQI relationships and even single parents. So it’s worth considering other dynamics in society and including them as much as possible.

Things to Look Out For

Say you wished to publish content on the most inspiring wedding photography and you were going to feature several examples. Be sure to include a mix of photographs displaying different genders, races, ages, religions etc… as to not exclude people. In addition, avoid using terminology such as “traditional wedding” when referring to a straight couple, as this implies it’s the norm and anything “new” is not as valid.

We are welcoming, respectful and supportive at work, on our sites, and in our community.

It’s our duty to ensure we’re being as inclusive as possible. In some areas, it may take that little bit extra time to include everyone, but the effort will be worth it.

Diverse & Varied End Results

We want to represent our global community fully and regularly, to enhance the learning experience for our readers.

We ask all our instructors to create diverse end results - be this gender, race, sexuality, religion, or geographic location. People like to see themselves in the media they consume. This includes in computer games, television, and our tutorial content!

We'd like you to consider who your end results represent. If you regularly feature people in your work, make sure your default "go to" isn't a white, western character. If you featured a white person in your previous tutorial, we'd like you to feature a person of colour in your next one. If you've featured women or men in your last tutorial, change that. Consider featuring people with disabilities, and people of different ages. If you're representing a group of people, you should make sure that group is diverse.

If you're struggling to find diverse source files, photography, or imagery for your content, talk to your editor and they can help point you in the right direction.

We're proud to be a first step in the ladder for many pursing a creative or technical career, and it comes with a responsibility to ensure we provide a quality, diverse and inclusive learning experience. Don't take it personally when we remind you about this from time to time!