top of page
  • Writer's pictureSarah Ecker

I DON’T WANT TO SAY THE WRONG THING!! (I want to be inclusive but I have no idea how.)

If you're a business or professional who *thinks* inclusively, or *believes* that inclusivity should be a vital part of your organization…but you don’t know quite how to serve up the proof in the pudding, you are not alone! I have met so many wonderful business people, health and wellness providers and other well-meaning professionals who truly want to make their services, products, or facilities open and safe for everyone— yet report that they don’t feel “qualified” to do so.

Don't beat yourself up before you even get started! The great news is, you want to try! As with any new business implementation, things aren’t going to go perfectly smooth out of the gate. You’re gonna mess up. It's ok to feel confused and like you don't know what you're doing. It's all ok! But try to keep your eyes on the prize. At the end of the day, you’re going to help SO MANY more people who may otherwise be left behind by simply alerting them that they are safe and welcome in your hands, or under your roof.

Here are some of the most common questions I’ll ask business owners or healthcare providers when I notice that their prospective client/patient Touch Points (website, intake form, instructional videos, resources, etc.) do not match their seemingly inclusive wishes for their place of business.

Scenario 1 (OBGYN Practice):

My Question: Your website has many informative resources for moms-to-be, including care for complicated or high-risk pregnancies. That is wonderful and so helpful! I do not see any information on your site regarding addressing special considerations for women of color, who, as you know, are at great risk of maternal death in our country. Does this mean that your practice is not equipped to address this disparity?

Common Answer: "You're right, we have not addressed those issues in the resource center on our site. We need and certainly want women of color to know that they will be well taken care of by our providers. This is an unfortunate oversight. What do you suggest?"

Scenario 2 (Private Primary Care Provider/Owner):

My question: “Your multi-site primary medical care practices state that they specialize in Senior Care. Your informational videos for nutrition and exercise are great! I noticed that most of the representation of Seniors on your site includes use of walkers, canes, etc. Why is that? ”

Common Answer: “hmmmm, I guess I’m not sure?”

Scenario 3 (Fitness Professional/Gym Owner):

My question: “You say that your business offers ‘Mommy Bootcamp’. Does this mean anyone who identifies as a mom can come to your class?”

Common Answer: “yes!”

My follow up: “So this means that your business is inclusive of trans women/moms...or gender nonconforming moms? What about trans men who have previously had children?”

Common answer: “yes!”

My follow up: “How would someone from this community know that? What about the words on your website, sign up form, instructional videos….says so? Like, specifically? Because if you don’t specify…you’re not including.”

Common answer: “hmmmmm, oh, I see. Well what words should I use then? I just don’t want to offend anyone.”

Scenario 4 (Digital Health Companies):

My question: Your digital health solution appears to include "women's pelvic health"? That's awesome and so needed! Does your solution not provide care for men or non-binary people who also have pelvises (...and hence, urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, etc.)?

Common Answer(s): 1) We do not have any resources to address those populations specifically. 2) We didn't know that men and other people also struggled with those issues. They do?

See where I’m going here? People who are looking for a safe and comfortable space to get help—especially when it comes to services and products related to their body or their health— NEED to see, hear, and feel themselves under your care. They need to see that they belong, hear that you are there specifically for them, and feel safe in pursuing your expertise.

I get it— this can all seem very complicated at first— confusion about pronouns…what’s “PC”…what’s anti-racist…what's can you possibly make your business and services inclusive and welcoming for all and offensive to no one? There IS a secret actually, and it’s not as complicated as you think. It’s more of a mindset shift in retraining your brain to not make assumptions and allow your potential clients to tell their own story for themselves. It takes time and reps, just like your fitness regimen (and all things worth doing), but it’s totally do-able.

If you are one of these compassionate and hyper-humane businesses or professionals who dreams of being the exclusively inclusive business in your community, but just need a little assistance breaking some old molds in an effort to reach those clients who need you the most (but just don’t know how to find you yet)—it would be an honor to jump on board and help you light your “open for everyone” beacon.

Let’s help more people, together.

6 views0 comments
bottom of page