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10 tips for workplace inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ people

Izzi Lerwill, transgender and non-binary chartered accountant at Grant Thornton UK, shares 10 practical tips for making the workplace more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people.

Inclusion starts with hello. It is the simple everyday actions that make a difference. Be curious, be respectful and ask questions about identities and experiences that are different to your own. Together we can make the inclusive change we want to see, so let’s talk!

 

  1. Share your diversity data with your employer
    This enables employers to identify if there is more they can do to build an inclusive culture.
  2. Normalise sharing your pronouns
    Add your pronouns to you email signature, next to your name in video calls and in your social media biographies.
  3. Avoid making assumptions
    Not all our colleagues, clients and suppliers are straight. We cannot tell someone’s gender just by looking at them. A person’s expression, appearance and body does not dictate their gender. 
  4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and don’t be afraid to make mistakes
    Embrace discomfort as a natural human reaction and be curious to learn more about experiences outside of your own social bubbles. We are all human and will occasionally make mistakes. Understand that impact is more important than intention. When this happens remember to listen, apologise, commit to change and move forward.
  5. Be an active ally
    Establish an allies group to collaborate with other people who don’t identify as LGBTQIA+ themselves but who want to help create a more inclusive culture.
  6. Call in exclusionary behaviour
    If you hear someone use the wrong pronouns, politely correct them. If someone makes homophobic, biphobic or transphobic comments, bring it up with them.
  7. Champion intersectionality
    Increase the focus on the most marginalised and underrepresented LGBTQIA+ people. Do LGBTQIA+ speaker panels include, for example, transgender people, intersex people, asexual people, LGBTQIA+ people of colour, LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ people of faith?
  8. Learn when to step up and when to step back and listen
    Think about who is not represented in a meeting and speak up to support them. Or even better, invite those underrepresented people into the meeting and listen to them.
  9. Review policies to check they are LGBTQIA+ inclusive
    If you think they could be improved, then raise this with your HR team. For example, does your maternity policy explicitly include transgender men and non-binary people? In your dress code policy, has reference to gender stereotypes and gender specific restrictions been removed? Do you have a transitioning at work policy established already?
  10. Share stories and experiences of your employees
    Real insights from real people in your business enable more meaningful connections and awareness. Can you set up a reverse mentoring scheme at your company?