‘Soft IP’ and identity: Why language matters


Muireann Bolger

‘Soft IP’ and identity: Why language matters

Olena Illustrations / Shutterstock.com

Actions may speak louder than words but, when it comes to D&I, language harbours a potency that can prevent or derail progress when misused. Muireann Bolger finds out more.

For some, the rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” may be recalled as a familiar, even reassuring, ode to childhood resilience.

But for others, no soothing refrain—no matter how you say or sing it—can alter the fact that words do have a devastating power to injure, undermine and confuse. And when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I), this impact can be vastly underestimated.

For transgender IP lawyer and civil rights activist, DJ Healey, partner at Spencer Fane, words in the form of gender pronouns are of paramount significance—and fundamental to her sense of identity.

D&I, language, transgender, pronouns, identity, homophobia, LGBTQ+, toxic masculinity, sexism, soft IP, copyright, trademark