Impartial Witness: A Notary's Guide to LGBTQ+ Inclusive Practices
July 17th, 2023:::
Article By:Zara Shea
Code Of Conduct:
🌈✨ Respect Pronoun Usage: As a notary public, it is your duty to always use the correct pronouns that individuals prefer to identify themselves with. Ask for pronoun preferences if uncertain or use gender-neutral pronouns such as "they/them" until you are informed otherwise. Respecting pronouns is essential for affirming and validating a person's gender identity. It is important to note that on a federal level, all notaries, as public officials and impartial witnesses, are required by law to set aside any and all religious beliefs that may hinder their respect for gender diverse individuals, and must respect the pronouns of all gender diverse people while treating them with dignity and respect. If you accidentally misgender someone, apologize sincerely, correct yourself, and continue using the correct pronouns. Avoid making a big deal out of the mistake or drawing attention to it.
🌈✨ Educate Yourself: Take the initiative to educate yourself about transgender, gender non-binary, intersex, gay, lesbian, and bisexual experiences, terminologies, and challenges. Be aware of the diversity within these communities, as each individual's experiences may differ.
🌈✨ Avoid Assumptions: Do not assume someone's gender identity, sexual orientation, or intersex status based on their appearance or any other characteristic. Allow individuals to disclose such personal information on their own terms.
🌈✨ No Snide Behavior: Refrain from making derogatory comments, jokes, or snide remarks related to gender identity, expression, intersex status, sexual orientation, or marital status. Treat all individuals with dignity and respect, acknowledging that people of diverse sexual orientations can have families and lead fulfilling lives.
🌈✨ Avoid Microaggressions: Be mindful of and avoid microaggressions, which are subtle, often unintentional expressions of bias or discrimination. These can include wincing or recoiling, invalidating someone's identity, questioning their experiences, engaging in backhanded compliments, or making assumptions about their ability to have families.
🌈✨ No Gossip: Do not engage in gossip or discussions about an individual's gender identity, expression, intersex status, sexual orientation, or marital status without their consent. Respect the privacy and confidentiality of all clients.
🌈✨ Avoid Invasive Questions: During notarial transactions, refrain from asking invasive or personal questions about an individual's gender identity, expression, intersex status, sexual orientation, or marital status. Maintain professionalism by limiting questions to matters directly related to the transaction. You may however ask about pronoun usage with a respectful and professional affect, Please note Code of Conduct rule #1 about asking questions about pronoun usage.
🌈✨ Respect Privacy: Do not disclose an individual's transgender, gender non-binary, intersex status, sexual orientation, or marital status without their explicit consent. Maintain confidentiality and respect their right to privacy.
🌈✨ Supportive Language: Use inclusive and affirming language when discussing or addressing gender-related topics, sexual orientation, and marital status. Avoid using derogatory or offensive language that perpetuates stereotypes or discriminates against LGBTQ+ individuals. Leave religious expressions out of business transactions to maintain professionalism and respect.
🌈✨ Support in Difficult Situations: If a client from the LGBTQ+ community becomes upset or experiences difficulties, respond with empathy and understanding. Offer support and actively listen to their concerns. If necessary, involve appropriate resources or authorities to help remedy the situation in a fair and respectful manner.
It is unfortunate that the need for a code of conduct arises due to the misbehavior of some notaries. However, as professionals, upholding good conduct is always expected and mandatory, regardless of whether you work for a large corporation or are a self-employed entrepreneur. It is crucial to understand that even as your own boss, you are still accountable to a certain standard under the law. Let this code of conduct be a milestone in notary history, signaling a shift towards greater accountability for matters of discrimination. May this code serve as an official notice that the tide has turned, and notaries in The United States OF America will now be held responsible for their actions regarding actions of LGBTQ+ related discrimination.
Thank you for reading! If you are an ally of the LGBTQ community, please consider Joining our Notaries Association! LGBTQ clients everywhere are looking for notaries who are specifically LGBTQ friendly, would you consider allowing us to add you to our area map, so that we can serve as many LGBTQ clients in as many locations as possible?