When planning meetings or events, regardless of the purpose, it’s important to be as LGBTQ-friendly as possible. Julia Berman of SmartMeetings.com interviewed spokespeople for LGBTMPA, the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association, to compile some guidelines for being inclusive.

One huge factor in making a space inclusive is location. Individual states and cities vary widely in terms of tolerance and legislation, so it’s important to do your research.

Additionally, applying an “Excuse of Performance” clause to your contracts ensures that you can back out if any anti-LGBTQ+ laws are enacted in the area.

Jim Clapes, a board member for the LGBTMPA, advises, “Make sure you have an open line of communication with your vendors and know what the local climate is when it comes to the LGBT community.”

Give the LGBTQ+ community a voice by getting their input on the inclusivity of the event, hiring LGBTQ+ individuals, and hosting LGBTQ+ speakers. Require your employees and speakers to use inclusive language and gender-neutral pronouns, as well as having a clear no-tolerance policy for bigoted language.

Pay attention to both sexual orientation and gender. If any part of your event or event registration requires participants to select a gender, ensure that options such as “neither,” “prefer not to say,” and “nonbinary” are available. If possible, provide an all-gender restroom in a prominent place.

Following these guidelines doesn’t ensure that your event will be perfect, but they’re certainly a good place to start.

Read the SmartMeetings.com article here for more suggestions.

Click here for more LGBT-inclusive education.