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November 10, 2019


by Lisa Koenecke

Hello friends! Did you notice I didn’t say ladies and gentleman? In the LGBTQ+ world, greeting a group of people with “Ladies & Gentlemen” can be considered a microagression. Yes, I know it’s what we were taught to say, but maybe it’s time to be more inclusive!

As a former middle school counselor, it always bothered me when I would hear teachers greet a class by using “boys & girls.” How about using the term, “Scholars” or even “First hour?” So, that is in a school setting, how about in a workplace?

This past week, I was honored to keynote the Iowa School Counselor Association Conference. Their theme was “All In.” What a fantastic group of school counselors learning how to go “All In” for their students! After the Keynote, I presented a workshop called “Equitable Treatment of ALL Iowa’s Students in Three Steps.” Let’s learn more about microagressions, shall we?

According to Wikipedia, Microaggressions have been defined as brief and common daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental communications, whether intentional or unintentional, that transmit hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to a target person because they belong to a stigmatized group. Did you know there are three types of Microagressions? I didn’t until writing this article.

Microaggressions seem to appear in three forms: microassault, microinsult, and microinvalidation. Almost all interracial encounters are prone to microaggressions; …. literature that represents various racial groups.  My main goal is to not greet with gender specific labels like “Ladies & Gentleman” or “Boys & Girls”.

I have been called a man, or sir, more times than I can count. I used to let it go, but now, I will correct the person and remind them that girls can have short hair. After being labeled as male, the shock on their eyes when I turn around is always the same. Call it gender non-conforming, call it whatever you will, I call it being my true self! When you aren’t sure of a person’s preferred gender, just call them, “Friend.”

Thank you, friend for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share it. Maybe you’ll save someone’s life!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Read more from LGBT Resources A to Z

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