5 ways to make your workplace more LGBTIQA+ inclusive
Look, 2020 has been wild and while many of us having been working from home and finding ourselves with a little more time on our hands there’s one thing we don’t have time for: discrimination. It’s old news (and illegal!) so let’s help our workplaces up their game a little. Besides, it’s nearing the end of the year and many of us are starting to transition back into the workplace, so now is as good a time as any for some tips to help you boost your workplace inclusivity – whether you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, or an ally wanting to help make your workplace a little more welcoming.
Add pronouns to your email signature
It may seem like a minor thing, but including your pronouns in your email signature is a simple way to open up the conversation about preferred pronouns. Under your name at the bottom of the email, just put your preferred pronouns in brackets – most may not comment on it, but it’s a straightforward way to help de-stigmatise diverse pronoun usage and can help start a conversation.
Look into workplace initiatives (or the potential for new ones)
A lot of workplaces now days have ally networks or LGBTIQA+ societies or groups of some description. Joining as either a member of the community or an ally can give you firsthand knowledge about upcoming initiatives or resources that could help make your office or place of work more inclusive.
If there isn’t already a group established, and you feel comfortable doing so, there are a number of changes you can encourage your employer to make to make your workplace more LGBTIQA+ friendly, including the introduction of all gender bathrooms or training on the challenges members of this community face at work. You could also share our Diversity and your career guide to get the ball rolling (even just perusing the glossary at the end can help better inform the conversations you have around the issues LGBTIQA+ people face).
Keep an eye out for incorrect, incomplete, or offensive language
It’s easy for workplace documentation to be a bit behind the times, so be sure to keep a close eye out for any discriminatory or negligent language that could alienate or show prejudice against LGBTIQA+ people.
For example, missing out a third sex or gender option in a survey can be discriminatory. Under the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender the Australian Government notes that ‘When information about sex or gender is being collected, there should be the option for X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified) gender, as well as for M (male) and F (female)’ (page 09 of Diversity and your career).
Keep an open mind
Regardless of whether you’re a part of the LGBTIQA+ community or simply an ally, there are always new things to learn. Whether it’s finding out about new initiatives and resources, new terminology or inclusive practices, keeping an open mind is important.
It is also a good idea to make sure you are trying to amplify diverse voices rather than speaking for them. If you’re working on something (and it’s applicable) try to get a diverse range of opinions – particularly if your work may be for, or consumed by, a diverse audience. While you may have the best of intentions, being open minded, conscious of potential biases and open to feedback can impact your work for the better and ultimately make your workplace a more inviting place.
Keep the conversation going
Perhaps the most obvious and straightforward way to make your workplace a more welcoming environment for members of the LGBTIQA+ community is for you to be openly supportive, and to call out discrimination when you see it. Whether that’s suggesting more inclusive initiatives, making sure people know they can come to you for help or to ask questions, or pointing out discriminatory practices – by being upfront and supportive you can help open a positive dialogue in the workplace.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Mia Casey