It is the year 2021 and the environment for LGBTQIA+ people in the UK seems to be deteriorating. Conversion therapy is still legal, and trans people are having to wait up to 5 years to be seen at our very limited number of Gender Identity Clinics.
The Stonewall LGBT in Britain: Work Report (2018) states the following:
- “Almost one in five LGBT staff (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or con-duct from work colleagues in the last year because they’re LGBT.”
- “Almost one in five LGBT people (18 per cent) who were looking for work said they were discrim-inated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job in the last year.”
- “Almost a third of non-binary people (31 per cent) and one in five trans people (18 per cent) don’t feel able to wear work attire representing their gender expression.”
It’s no secret that LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to feel uncomfortable or threatened than their straight counterparts in an office environment. So what can we be doing to combat this epidemic of fear?
Office environments are notorious for breeding bigotry and discrimination under the guise of ‘ban-ter’, and it’s time for us to move past this. It’s an age old cliche, but small steps really can lead to bigger change.
Employers should be making an effort to recruit more diverse candidates and create opportunities for those in minority groups, alongside training their current staff in diversity and inclusion within the workplace. There are free training programmes available, such as Outvertising’s ‘Active Ally Training’, designed to help employees acknowledge their unconscious bias and make recommen-dations on how to combat this. Clear policies should be in place within organisations that detail zero tolerance towards homophobic, transphobic and biphobic discrimination.
This Pride Month, it is important that we (from large corporations to individual people) are con-sciously doing more to support and promote LGBTQIA+ visibility. We are in a climate where saying ‘I’m just not educated on the subject’ is no longer an excuse, with a wealth of content, literature and websites at our fingertips.
OPEN Media are currently in the throes of their Open and Proud 2021 campaign, designed to do-nate space to LGBTQIA+ voices, celebrate them and most importantly listen to their lived experi-ences. OPEN will be collaborating with Clear Channel UK at the end of the month, swapping their out of home Pride campaigns for one day to show the power of media owners working together to support important causes.
This is just one step taken during Pride Month to amplify the voices of the community – this must continue to build past the month where rainbows dominate our Twitter feeds and shop fronts.