7 Ways to Create a LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplace

1-2 minutes

In the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969, a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York was to become a significant moment in the history books.

As the police became violent during the raid, patrons of the Stonewall Inn along with people in the local community began to fight back.

It subsequently sparked a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community and the Stonewall riots, as they are now known, are recognised as a watershed event which transformed the gay liberation movement and the fight for LGBT rights.

As the riots took place during June, this is why pride is largely celebrated during this month in America and around the world.

In the UK, the first pride took place in London on 1 July 1972 and it has been celebrated ever since within the capital. With 2024 marking 52 years since the first ever London pride, it is a great time to commemorate and reflect on how far attitudes and rights have progressed since 1969.

However, as we look towards the next 50 years, there is still a lot of work to be done and none more so than in the workplace. If you’re searching for ways to create a LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace, we’ve compiled our 7 best ways to achieve this. 

Foster a Safe and Supportive Environment

You should be mindful that any one of your colleagues could be gay, bi or struggling with their gender identity. Some people in the LGBTQ+ community choose to keep their sexual and gender identities private due to the fear of repercussions or workplace stigma.

Just because you don’t know that someone is a lesbian doesn’t mean that they’re not so you should foster a safe and supportive environment for everyone to be themselves.

Never Out Anyone

You should never ‘out’ anyone (in or out of work) because being out is a choice.

The workplace can be a delicate and high-stakes place and sometimes the risks of coming out outweigh the benefits. That is completely their choice and it is nobody's right to take that away from them.

Appreciate Complex Identities

For the LGBTQ+ community, gender and sexual identities can often be complex, fluid or in flux.

It’s important to recognise and appreciate that everyone is different and to not ‘label’ people in a way which is not accurate.

It can be extremely challenging and confusing to understand your own thoughts and feelings so the last thing anyone needs is for a third party to tell you how you feel.

Be Cautious With Labels

Some people love the label of being gay or trans as it empowers them, encourages self expression and it helps them to build their community.

However, labels can also feel oppressive or be weaponised to exclude people and limit their growth.

The important thing here is choice. If someone is happy and proud to be labelled as gay or bi, be encouraging of this. If not, respect their feelings and avoid labels altogether.

Show Some Respect

In the last few decades, there have been huge strides in progression and understanding surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done to tackle decades of oppression and discrimination.

Even if you don’t understand a concept or how someone chooses to identify, you do have the power to educate yourself and show some respect to your colleagues.

Be A Powerful Ally

No matter your own sexual orientation, you can still make a difference and be a powerful ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Be visible in your support by placing rainbow stickers on your desk, educate yourself about the community's history and make a stand when you hear offensive or oppressive language used in the workplace.

Don’t Lose Context

It’s important to recognise the context in which incorrect language, terms or phrases are used. If someone continues to refer to their colleague by their previous name after they have transitioned, this can be incredibly harmful and should be called out.

However, if an incorrect or outdated term is misused because the person isn’t aware, you should invite that person into a conversation to educate and explain why what they have said is not right.

If someone feels attacked for unintentionally saying something wrong, you run the risk of alienating them and workplace relationships breaking down.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

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