International Day Against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia 2022
April 26 2021Read more
Every year in February, the LGBTQ+ community celebrates LGBT History Month – a month-long celebration of parades, parties, and concerts. In the UK, this celebration is held in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.
Over 1.4 million people in the UK identify as LGBTQ+. Approximately 26% of LGBTQ+ employees are not out to any co-worker, and a staggering 50% are not out to their current boss. While many organisations continue to evolve, providing workplace protections for the LGBTQ+ community, many individuals are still reluctant to come out at work.
Over the past decade, some organisations have made positive steps in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, creating an inclusive workplace. According to the latest figures, 46% of LGBT workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives.
There is more to be done by employers to help cultivate a greater sense of inclusion and acceptance for LGBTQ+ team members in the workplace. Here are some suggestions for how your organisation can raise awareness and celebrate LGBT History Month:
These workshops are an educational tool and usually involve an external professional: an LGBTQ+ advocate/expert who can teach your business how to facilitate LGBTQ+ equality. The speaker will use their experiences to provide information, sharing anecdotes that resonate with your LGBTQ+ employees.
These workshops will let your LGBTQ+ employees know that your business is forward-thinking and supportive - they will also inform your heterosexual employees about the correct terminology and pronouns
According to Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ rights organisation in Europe, fundraising is a great way to engage your LGBTQ+ staff and demonstrate how your organisation is committed to promoting inclusiveness. There are numerous ways for your business to donate. It can be as simple as setting up a QR code to a JustGiving page. You can include the QR code on company printouts, flyers, emails, and TV screens around the office so your employees can donate.
Over the last decade, it has become standard practice for organisations to use social media to attract clients and market products. There are approximately 4.9 billion active social media users (~62% of the world’s population), so the outreach potential is immense.
Your organisation can use these online outlets for social change – educating followers and giving a voice to LGBTQ+ employees. And remember, the whole point of these campaigns is to raise awareness, not profits.
Discrimination is still a problem within the workplace. As mentioned, 46% of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives. Everyone has a part to play in improving inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. However, successful organisational change starts from the top down. As an employer, you can implement policies, offer initiatives and guide workplace culture. With that comes a responsibility to do the right thing. To facilitate the necessary change.
For some LGBTQ+ people, work can be fantastic – a safe space where they can be themselves. But for others, it’s the opposite. Discrimination and harassment are all too common, with more than a third of LGBT staff in the UK hiding their status at work. Awareness is growing. Workplaces are starting to address stigmas. New attitudes towards diversity in the workplace are on the horizon.
An employee network group has the potential to transform the experiences of LGBTQ+ people at work. They enable LGBTQ+ employees to support their peers and find community at work. They do this in three main ways:
1) Peer-to-peer support: providing a space for LGBT employees to support each other, express concerns, and spend time around people who understand their experiences.
2)Awareness-raising: promoting a better understanding of LGBT inclusion and making LGBT experiences more visible in the organisation.
3)Accountability: scrutinising your organisation’s policies and processes, feeding back concerns, and suggesting how to improve them.
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