An LGBT inclusive work environment

Some times I forget how much feelings and reactions there are around the subject being Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual or Transgender. I have been in a work and private environment for quite some time where this isn’t an issue, and therefore I don’t think about it being such a sensitive subject until someone makes a remark. And this weekend someone did make  a remark that I did not approve of. I was invited to a lunch where someone was telling a story about a co-worker she does not work well with. She said; « I get along with everyone, but this one I really struggle to co-operate with ». She then found the « explanation », according to herself. Her boss had informed her that the colleague is lesbian. « That explains it », she told us. “Ehm.. Explains what?”, I said. « Well, that’s why she is acting so strange », was the response. I then commented that it is probably her colleague’s character that she reacts to, not the fact that she is gay.  Another guest agreed with me, but this particular person was completely convinced that the reason for her colleague’s odd behaviour was due to her being lesbian. I would have loved to show her the video « Growing up Gay » by Brian McNaught, but I am not really sure it would have had an impact on her.

As individuals, we choose how much we want to inform ourselves on various subjects and how open we want to be to others who are not like us. A company however, has a certain ethical obligation to inform and create an inclusive environment for their employees. And, bringing money into the picture; research shows that employees who feel they work in an inclusive environment, are more efficient, creative and loyal to their company – which in the end contributes to the bottom line.

Here some tips from Diversity Executive on how to create an LGBT inclusive environment.  I invite you to read and share:

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