2022 is a pivotal year for the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community as it celebrates the 50 year anniversary of when the first UK Gay Pride marches took place.
The month of June is especially noteworthy and has become known as ‘Pride Month’ – recognising the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. These important protests changed gay rights for many people in America and around the world.
Significant change has taken place for the LGBTQ+ community over the last 50 years, both politically and socially, with legislation constantly being updated and social reform bringing rapid changes.
Despite this, whilst progress is being made towards a more inclusive society, some LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination, exclusion and barriers to work, and it’s clear that more training around LGBTQ+ Awareness is needed.
LGBTQ+ Workplace statistics – Inequality for workers
Key findings from the Stonewall LGBT in Britain Work Report (2018) found that in the 12 months prior:
- Almost 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ staff have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues because of their sexual orientation
- 1 in 8 transgender people have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues because of being transgender
- Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job
- More than 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ workers have hidden or disguised their sexuality because they were afraid of discrimination.
The Equality Act (2010) legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. This means that everyone, of any sexual orientation is protected from discrimination. Despite this, 1 in 8 lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and 1 in 5 transgender people say they wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to their employer.
So, as an employer what can you do to help make and support change and ensure workforce inclusivity?
Creating and promoting LGBTQ+ inclusivity at work
1. Understand the Law and LGBTQ+ rights
The first step you can take towards promoting inclusivity in the workplace is to understand the law and legislation around LGBTQ+ rights. Educating yourself and learning from LGBTQ+ news will enable you to share knowledge and experience with your colleagues and help you to lead by example.
The Equality Act (2010) states that “nobody can be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation”. Employers are legally obligated to protect all their staff, avoid discrimination, and provide a working environment that is safe and free from discrimination.
Knowing and understanding the law is not enough, employers need to help create a working environment that is free from prejudice whilst demonstrating respect and inclusivity towards LGBTQ+ Staff.
2. Changing staff perceptions and behaviours
Be aware of the assumptions you make about people and be mindful of the way people may feel about topics of conversation or ‘throw away’ comments. Staff who feel valued and accepted are often happier and more productive in the working environment. Take some time to learn about LGBTQ+ issues and gender identity, and show your support for awareness days and the local LGBTQ+ Community.
Use inclusive language in all communications: ‘partner’, ‘parent’ and ‘child’ are a good starting point, and rather than ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ use ‘colleagues’.
3. Educate staff about LGBTQ+, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
LGBTQ History month and Pride month are great opportunities to focus on inclusivity and the wellbeing of all your team. Ensure your business culture promotes equality and diversity and that all staff understand the behaviour that is classed as discrimination. The LQBTQ+ community can still face stereotyping and have assumptions made about them, so make sure LGBTQ+ is recognised as an important part of your organisation’s values.
4. LGBTQ+ inclusion in Policies and Procedures
An organisation’s policies and procedures should be relevant and easily accessible, and staff should be confident in implementing them. Ensure your policies explain how you as an employer support the LGBTQ+ staff in your organisation and take discrimination seriously.
Make sure that a clear Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy is in place and made available to all staff, and that your policies on parental leave, benefits and so on are all written inclusively.
5. Offer LGBTQ+ Training
Organisations that offer LGBTQ+ Training in the workplace alongside other Equality and Diversity training immediately demonstrate their commitment to inclusion. Making sure that all your staff have access to the relevant information needed to create a fully inclusive workplace helps you create an environment that is free from prejudice.
If training is recorded through a learning management system, employers can keep track of their employees’ progress and quickly identify additional training needs.
Teaching your staff how to reduce stigmatism within the workplace and making sure your staff are comfortable in their working environment has a number of benefits for your business as well as for your workforce:
The benefits of an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace environment
- Higher job satisfaction and high productivity
- Improving the quality of personnel through better recruitment and retention
- Higher employee morale and lower staff turnover
- Decreased vulnerability to legal challenges
- Increased organisational flexibility and the ability to learn from people at all levels
- Greater participation and broader perspectives increase creativity and innovation
Other business-related reasons to become more inclusive include the potential to improve the customer service experience, and reach out to new clients and audiences.
LGBTQ+ Awareness Online Training
Our LGBTQ+ Awareness Training course was developed to help provide employees and employers working in the UK the tools and skills to create a fully inclusive workplace.
The course aims to give learners an understanding of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK and to help inform all staff about the need for an inclusive environment in the workplace. Course users will learn about the effects and impacts of prejudice and discrimination and understand The Equality Act and LGBTQ+ history, rights and the law. They’ll be taught about the effects and impacts of discrimination and shown what they should do to ensure workplace inclusivity.
Our comprehensive LGBTQ+ Awareness online training course covers:
• Gender and Sexual Orientation Terminology
• Law and Legislation, Harassment and Victimisation
• Prejudice and Discrimination
• Benefits of an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Environment
• Assessment – employees taking this training course will complete an assessment to ensure that they understand the course content and to demonstrate their increased awareness of issues.
If you’d like to know about LGBTQ+ Awareness online training or any of of our other HR and employment courses then get in touch with us. A number of organisations have also requested bespoke LGBTQ+ e-learning and we’ll be more than happy to help you if this would be more suitable for your organisation.