Making Your Organization LGBTQ Friendly

2/24/2015

Creating an inclusive workplace means supporting diversity in all of its forms, whether it be along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age or sexual orientation.

On the latter, there is still some discomfort among many members of today’s workforce about addressing homosexuality in public. After all, it was only in 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association removed “homosexuality” from its official list of mental disorders. And still, many people have strong feelings against homosexual members of society. As the US Federal Bureau of Investigation noted, approximately 14 percent of all hate crimes are directed at gay people or those perceived to be gay. This is despite the finding that between three and 10 percent of people across the world are homosexual.

But many organizations have taken a proactive stance on including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning individuals in their workplaces as part of their Diversity & Inclusion efforts.

If your organization is considering broadening its D&I campaign to include LGBTQ employees and associates, there are several steps that can be taken, both along your company’s official lines and in terms of the broader company culture. 

Your organization can support sexual orientation diversity by including sexual orientation in its official nondiscrimination policy and by offering equal benefits to domestic partners. In order to create a non-judgmental and inclusive environment within the workplace, your organization can offer training and education to employees on how to respectfully discuss LGBTQ issues. If there are members of your organization who openly discriminate against or exclude LGBTQ members based on their sexual orientation, disciplinary actions should be taken. All of this should be done with the support of your company's upper management.

Creating an inclusive atmosphere is the best way for an organization to make sure all its employees feel safe, supported and included. The benefits of an inclusive workplace – for all employees, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age or sexual orientation – is increased commitment, job satisfaction, engagement and creativity of all members of the workforce. 

Cheryl Williams