For more than 50 years, June has become a month of Pride celebrations, where people embrace their diversity and move towards a time where everyone is included and treated fairly.
The event dates back to the 1969 riots at Stonewall in New York City. On 28 June, police raided the Stonewall Inn, leading to massive protests from the LGBTQ+ community and the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Pride means different things to different people, but to many members of the LGBTQ+ community, it is about self-acceptance.
Many small and large organisations around the UK are prioritising LGBTQ+ inclusion, as it offers plenty of advantages for all businesses. LGBTQ+ inclusion is vital for ensuring all your employees feel valued and safe to bring their whole selves into the workplace.
Read on for our tips on how to foster diversity and promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion.
What does LGBTQ+ stand for?
LGBTQ+ is an umbrella term that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning people.
The plus symbol indicates that the umbrella also includes other sexualities and gender identities. Pansexual and asexual people, and individuals who identify as non-binary, are just a few examples of others included in the LGBTQ+ term.
Reasons to promote LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion at work
The main reason for creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment in the workplace is to ensure that staff of all gender identities and sexualities feel valued and welcome.
In addition to this, LGBTQ+ inclusive strategies will likely benefit in terms of output, as your workforce will feel more comfortable and productive as valued members of a unified team.
How to foster LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace
Here are some important LGBTQ+ inclusion approaches that business owners and managers can introduce to promote a more LGBTQ+ welcoming workplace.
A great way to promote inclusivity and show support for your LGBTQ+ staff is to publicly embrace Pride month. Celebrating Pride will let your employees know that you are with them and will eradicate any discrimination against them.
If your staff work in an office, decorate it with rainbow flags. If your staff work from home, lead by example and drape a rainbow flag over your chair so everyone sees it in video calls. If your local town or city has its own Pride event, make your organisation visible at the parade to show its solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition to celebrating Pride, keep an eye on other key dates of the year, for example lesbian visibility week and LGBT history month.
Create and maintain LGBTQ+ policies
Creating LGBTQ+ policies for your organisation is an important way to formalise standards on how your organisation and workforce will be more inclusive and prevent discrimination.
Your equality and diversity policy should feature LGBTQ+ inclusion, but it’s far better to have a distinct LGBTQ+ policy – this will demonstrate your commitment to addressing and eradicating discrimination.
Your general business policies should also demonstrate LGBTQ+ inclusivity. For example, pension, life insurance, and parental leave policies should all be written with the LGBTQ+ community in mind.
Deliver LGBTQ+ training
Delivering LGBTQ+ training as part of compulsory equality and diversity training is a prime opportunity to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues among all staff.
Such training will ensure your staff are familiar with your organisation’s policies and that they understand them.
State your pronouns
Displaying your pronouns is a growing phenomenon in the professional world and in personal lives.
Suggest that your staff include pronouns in their chat facilities and email signatures, and state them at the start of meetings with new people. These could be, for example, she/her, he/him, they/them, or a mixture of pronouns, for example she/they or he/they.
Being explicit about your pronouns encourages the idea that people should not assume the gender identity of others. If everyone in the business states their pronouns, non-binary or transgender members of staff are more likely to feel comfortable stating theirs.
Adopt gender-neutral language
To sidestep prejudice concerning gender, make it company-wide practice to adopt gender-neutral language. Instead of “he/she”, use “they”.
Set up an LGBTQ+ network
To support your employees, consider setting up an LGBTQ+ network. This will provide LGBTQ+ members of staff with a safe space to interact.
LGBTQ+ networks can also prove invaluable in advising management on LGBTQ+ issues and can suggest ways to make improvements.
Invite an LGBTQ+ speaker
Inviting an LGBTQ+ speaker to your work event is a way of showing your LGBTQ+ employees that you care about their identity, experiences, and comfort.
An LGBTQ+ speaker will also help to educate straight and cis gender colleagues, promoting inclusivity and positive working relationships.
Get in touch
Pride month is a great time to kick off or refine your LGBTQ+ inclusivity policies and practices. Promoting diversity in the workplace and letting your LGBTQ+ staff know that you see and respect them, will pay off both in terms of a happier team and a more productive workforce.
If you’re a business owner and you’d advice on the financial aspects of running your company, please email email@example.com or call 0115 933 8433.