Engagement guide

This is an intro guide designed to help Pride by Side experts (and those considering becoming an expert) engage LGBTIQ+ initiatives in a way that makes the experience prosperous, respectful, fun, and an opportunity for everyone to learn.

Initiatives are excited to work with experts and they understand that experts may not be part of the queer community themselves and might have gaps in their understanding or knowledge.

This guide exists complementary to other more formal documents and policies such as our community standards policy, ethical engagement and collaboration policy, and heightened safety measures policy.

Have thoughts or feedback? Let us know.

Pillars of engagement

Below are some key pillars of engagement we’d invite you to keep in mind. These should be considered a starting point and exist in concert with each other.

Same same but different

LGBTIQ+ people and communities are much the same as anyone else: Whole and distinct human beings. The LGBTIQ+ community also has a rich, shared, complex history rooted in celebration, pride, persecution, struggle, triumph, despair, and love. Even within the community, each letter of the queer alphabet has its own history inseparable from the social, political, and cultural context in which they live today.

Respect is safety

Genuine respect must always underpin engagement to ensure everyone’s physical and emotional safety. Allies should aim to educate themselves about LGBTIQ+ issues and history, recognising the. Where there are gaps in knowledge, queer folk are often more than happy to share or explain their needs if prompted by respectful questions rooted in an authentic desire to learn.

(There is also Google.)

Language matters

Language plays an important role in how queer people define themselves. Language has, and continues to be, a weapon against the queer community, too. Therefore, it is important to familiarise yourself and understand preferred and respectful terminology. See our LGBTIQ+ glossary for more information.

Avoid assumptions

A good rule of thumb is to not assume anyone’s gender or sexuality. Using neutral language such as “partner” instead of gendered relationship terms, “they” instead of he or she, etc. are simple ways for people to not feel excluded. There is almost never a reason to ask anyone about their sex characteristics.

Celebrate expertise

Initiatives want to work with you because of the knowledge and lived experience you bring. Similarly, initiatives are experts in their own experiences, too. We encourage both experts and initiatives to leverage shared expertise and to use the pairing as a learning experience for all. Bring your best self.

Everything is intersectional

Gender, sexuality, and sex characteristics intersect with every other facet of someone’s identity such as age, ethnicity, statehood, socio-economic factors, ability or disability, etc. It’s important to work with people with an understanding of this intersectionality.  

Privacy and dignity

Respect is rooted in the privacy and dignity of both experts and LGBTIQ+ initiatives. It is an expectation that “Chatham House Rules” underpin all engagement by default.

Feedback is love

Every day is a school day. There may be times where feedback or recommendations are provided—this should be taken as a compliment that queer folk trust and respect you enough that they think you’ll understand and learn.

The finer print


By engaging with Pride by Side and LGBTIQ+ initiatives you are, by default, engaging in a political act of solidarity that may expose you to bigotry, hate, or even potential harm.

Your safety is of paramount importance to us and if you have any concerns at any stage, please contact us immediately.