Pride is the time to celebrate and show your support for the LGBTQIA+ people in your life. However, it’s important to remember that Pride isn’t just a party, it’s a protest.
LGBTQIA+ people in the UK still face homophobic discrimination on a daily basis, even sometimes going so far as physical violence. According to reports from Stonewall, 51% of trans people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination and nearly 7 in 10 trans young people have been subjected to death threats at school. The awful practice of Conversion Therapy is only just being addressed and many gay people still don’t feel comfortable holding hands with their partner in public or disclosing their sexuality at work.
The workplace should be a safe space for all LGBTQIA+ people, here are some tips to make sure it is:• Learn the terminology and educate yourself. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual. The plus is there to ensure that everyone feels included. There is a lot of discourse in the UK at the moment around gender, particularly trans and non-binary people. For example, the introduction of pronouns to social media accounts (e.g. Instagram, LinkedIn) have sent some people into a spiral. Take the time to look into what changes like this mean to the people in these communities and how it will help them in the workplace, then implement them company-wide.
• Avoid heteronormativity and stereotypes. It’s very easy to assume everyone is straight and it’s just as easy to stereotype people when you find out they’re not. Avoid gendered language when talking about peoples’ partners, don’t assume that a gay man isn’t watching the Euros etc.
• Representation matters! We’re seeing evidence of this through movements such as Black Lives Matter. Seeing someone you can identify with represented on the big screen or in the board room can really elevate an individual’s goals and ambitions. Think about representation when hiring, pulling a speaker line up together, choosing who to feature on the company website etc.
• When working representation within your company, avoid tokenism. We’ve all been to conferences with a line up of ten middle-aged white men and one white woman; it almost looks worse than just having all men. When planning events or hiring staff, think about diversity from the start. If it’s ingrained into your thought process you’ll avoid tokenism and naturally end up with a diverse, interesting group of people. This will then allow you to make better decisions overall.
• This leads on to the next point of listening to voices that are more marginalised than your own. It’s important that we all acknowledge our individual privileges and prevent them from clouding our judgement. There is so much to learn from other people who have a different background to us and we must acknowledge when our voice is not the correct one to put forward. This is exactly why we’ve decided not to do a Pride event this month and instead use our platform to bring attention to other fantastic events and activities taking place across the city.There’s a temptation during Pride month to simply change your company logo to the rainbow version and hope for the best, but real support for the LGBTQIA+ community needs to be all year round and ingrained in the company culture.Keep an eye out on our Twitter to hear about all of the fantastic activity taking place in Manchester and enjoy the rest of Pride month!