Embracing Diversity: Supporting LGBTQA+ colleagues in the workplace_

14th Jun 2023 | 5 min read

Embracing Diversity: Supporting LGBTQA+ colleagues in the workplace_
Inclusion and diversity have in recent times become trending lingo. Hop online and it’s likely that you might see a feature or two. This is a nod in the right direction in ensuring the acceptance and inclusion of every individual irrespective of their differences. Fostering a supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace is one of the ways organisations can promote diversity.   In recognition of Pride Month this June, we’ll use this piece to highlight some of the practical ways you can harness an enabling work atmosphere for everyone.  


What is Pride Month?

We’ll start of by explaining what Pride Month is. It is a month-long celebration with a series of forums, parades and events centred around bringing together individuals in the LGBTQ+ fraternity to increase awareness, acceptance and support.   Pride Month originates from the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969, after a series of protests following police brutality towards individuals belonging to the community. Subsequent marches have since taken place every year after that, in remembrance of the uprising. It serves as a great opportunity for the creation of safe spaces and the overall visibility of LGBTQ+ individuals.  In the next section below, we’ll delve into some of the ways of creating an inclusive workplace in your organisation.  


Harness a harmonious and inclusive environment_

A culture that celebrates diversity is crucial for fostering inclusion for everyone. Creating this environment encourages employees to show up as their authentic selves. This can be done through the implementation of comprehensive policies that advocate for the protection of LGBTQ+ rights. By so doing, individuals will be able to show up and truly be themselves despite their sexual orientation or gender identity. Crafting a concise policy will ensure your organisation is able to cover the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.   Other initiatives for fostering diversity include company-wide training sessions and the organisation of workshops to educate employees and heighten awareness on LGBTQ+ and other related issues. 


Promote active allyship_

Allyship is an effective way of showing support for the LGBTQ+ community. Being an ally entails the promotion of the general interest of members belonging to the LGBTQ+ society. This can be done by actively promoting equality in the workplace and beyond. You can also be an ally by listening to colleagues share their experiences and the day-to-day issues they face whilst navigating the space. Allyship creates a more inclusive work culture by allowing marginalised voices to be amplified through genuine conversations that are based on trust.  

Educate yourself_

By actively learning about the unique experiences that members of the LGBTQ+ communities face, you’ll be able to understand the various challenges your colleagues at the workplace face. Gaining knowledge on these issues will give you the tools needed to offer sincere support.   Getting abreast with appropriate terminologies will also give you the insight required to relate to them better and respect their differences. 


Encourage the use of the right pronouns_

The popularity of pronouns has caught on recently. Addressing individuals based on their preferred pronouns contributes to the creation of a conducive work environment. Learning the correct terminology and pronouns demonstrates the willingness to understand the community. You should always remember to ask for preferred pronouns when meeting new colleagues to avoid any mix-ups in email salutations and other correspondence. Additionally, you should avoid assumptions by finding out from other colleagues what their preferred pronouns are. This will ensure the correct addressing of coworkers for inclusivity. 


Create a support network_

Businesses should encourage employee-led LGBTQ+ networks at the workplace.   Championing a safe space will positively impact the wellbeing of marginalised communities. The creation of these groups play a critical role in raising awareness and a sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ employees; through the organisation of forums, discussions and events surrounding diversity and inclusion.   One of the core ethos of Infinity Group is authenticity.  We strongly believe in encouraging employees to not be afraid of being themselves. The celebration of diversity and inclusivity is important in ensuring that colleagues can be supported accordingly.    To build on this value even further, James McQuillen, Lead Developer at Infinity Group recently created the ‘Infinitely Proud’ group to provide a safe space for the community and its allies. Focused on support and advocacy, the network celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion for the company.  This quote from James sums it all up. 


“Infinity Group is an inclusive organisation which really supports and develop its people.  This led to the formation of the LGBTQIA+ network, ‘Infinitely Proud’, for all our colleagues to feel supported. 

In previous roles, I’ve had to hide that I am a married gay man or have had to strategically think about where and when I could tell people. In contrast however, everyone at Infinity has always been so open and supportive that I’ve never even had to think about withholding this big part of who I am.”


How your organisation can make a difference_

It is important to note that Pride Month is not just about marches, featuring rainbow colours or holding events. The focus of companies should be on fostering equality for an unbiased workplace. There should also be a deliberate effort to create inclusive policies geared at encouraging and supporting all employees to truly be themselves without any prejudice. There should also be support from senior management who can help implement initiatives for improved employee wellbeing. 


 Visit here to find out more about Pride Month 2023  

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