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How to Support the LGBTQ+ People Around You

  • Category: LGBTQ+ Care
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
How to Support the LGBTQ+ People Around You

At Baton Rouge General, we embrace the diversity of our employees, patients, vendors and community members and strive to maintain an inclusive environment that celebrates the contributions of all employees and provides equitable care to patients of all races, gender identities, ages, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, abilities and socioeconomic situations.

One way we are engaging with our employees and the community is providing education and awareness about the LGBTQ+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning, and others). Did you know that LGBTQ+ youth and adults are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health conditions especially depression and anxiety disorders? For many LGBTQ+ people, facing discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, harassment, and family rejection can negatively impact their mental health.

Sometimes, even if you feel supportive of your LGBTQ+ loved ones, you may say things that inadvertently hurt them. Below are some examples of hurtful comments you may not realize you’re making and some helpful alternatives.


Reinforcing stereotypes

“You seem so masculine to be gay.” No, there isn’t a certain “look” to being LGBTQ+. Also common are phrases like “that’s so gay” or “don’t be a homo,” which are homophobic and offensive.

Going the “token” route

If an acquaintance or co-worker is a lesbian, for example, don’t jump to referencing that “one lesbian you know.” It doesn’t show much effort and is irrelevant in a conversation. Just make regular small talk!

Questioning sexuality

For example, if a person identifies as bisexual, asking “so you’re really just gay then?” belittles their sexuality. Comments like “they’re just confused” or “they’re doing it for attention” can be especially hurtful – and harmful in the long-term -- for young people who come out.

Refusing to use requested pronouns

Called misgendering, this is common for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. For example, referring to a transgender coworker as “he” when the person might actually use “she” or “they.”

Invasive questions

Example: Asking a trans person if they have had gender reassignment surgery yet. You wouldn’t ask such personal questions to a different friend or co-worker.

Qualifying a person’s identity

People saying they're ok with someone being gay “as long as they don’t flaunt it to everyone.” This demonstrates a lack of acceptance for a person’s true self.


Be supportive if someone comes out to you

Thank your friend or family member for having the courage to tell you. Don’t judge, and respect their trust in you to share with others how and when they want. Offer your continued support.

Make an effort to learn

Dig a little deeper and educate yourself about the LGBTQ+ community. It will help you avoid common hurtful comments and be a better support to those around you.

If you hear something, say something

People’s words carry meaning, and sometimes you may have to be the one to let them know that.

Recognize that someone in your circle could be LGBTQ+

Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions and being open-minded will give them the space they need.


Yes, it’s ok to ask questions. But that can get tiring for some in the LGBTQ+ community who are constantly playing the role of educator. But most importantly – listen - like any good friend would.

Check your own prejudice and bias

It may be uncomfortable, but it’s an important part of being supportive to the LGBTQ+ community.

See more about Baton Rouge General's LGTBQ+ Care.