We started the Workplace Equality Index in 2005 to raise awareness and partner with organisations across all sectors to build more inclusive workplaces across Britain. Organisations and businesses are at the front lines of driving equality in society, creating spaces where customers, service users and the wider LGBT communities are accepted.
Being an LGBT-inclusive employer is a process that can start with everyday actions. This can range from activity like pledging support during Pride or Trans Day of Remembrance, hosting LGBT networking events, profiling LGBT role models in the workplace or offering diversity training to staff. Each of these kinds of initiatives can help create a work environment where LGBT staff can be themselves and, because of that, thrive at work.
However, no workplace is the same, so diversity and inclusion cannot be a one-fits-size-all approach. Which is why employers need to listen to the needs of their lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees and address the challenges they face. This means creating safe spaces for LGBT employees to come together, discuss their issues and offer their own potential solutions.
Collaborative efforts between employers and employees help ensure that no-one is left behind, LGBT staff are treated with dignity and respect, and ultimately, everyone can contribute.
For those who might believe that we don’t need to do this work anymore, that LGBT people are safe at work – this shocking statistic clarifies why today’s list is so important: one in six LGBT people who visited a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub have been discriminated against because they’re LGBT. Also, at a time when the protections established for LGBT people feel increasingly at risk and at the same time more important than ever, employers need to reflect on their responsibilities, not just to their employees, but to the wider community.
In particular, trans people are more vulnerable than ever. They face huge levels of discrimination, abuse and bullying, across all parts of society. Our latest research shows that half of trans people (51% have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination or abuse. Not to mention that one in eight trans employees (12%) have been physically attacked by colleagues or customers in the past year.
This makes visible support of employers critical in achieving trans equality. Which is why it’s important to recognise and learn from organisations who have made great strides towards creating a workplace where trans people feel truly able to be themselves.
Just take for example, The National Assembly for Wales, this year’s leading employer for LGBT inclusivity and one of Britain’s top trans-inclusive employers.
Not only does the organisation have a range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, such as LGBT and ally network groups, this year they have started introducing a host of measures to improve the workplace for trans people. These trans-specific initiatives include: updating their workplace systems to offer an Mx title, providing gender-neutral facilities, and offering a space for staff to give their own gender terms on forms. This is in addition to training and support programmes that are inclusive of LGBT and non-binary staff.
Many other organisations have also made great strides towards building a more inclusive workspace for trans and non-binary staff. Whether that be Gentoo’s trans coffee mornings for customers, Victim Support’s specially produced leaflets for all staff on supporting trans colleagues or Lloyds Banking Group establishing a ‘trans customer journey’, there is plenty of outstanding work being done to make sure every LGBT employee is accepted without exception.
But, there’s still lots more to be done.
By working together, we can ensure that all LGBT people feel safe and accepted at work, home, and in their everyday life.
Useful websites and helplines:
- London Lesbian & Gay switchboard (LLGS) is a free confidential support & information helpline for LGBT communities throughout the UK | 0300 330 0630
- Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is a free support, information and referral service for the Manchester and North-West area | 0161 235 8000
- Stonewall for more information on other LGBT services and helplines | 08000 502020