LGBTQ Allies In The Workplace

3/10/2015

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.

But while many organizations have taken a proactive stance on including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning individuals in their Diversity & Inclusion efforts, it can be daunting for homosexual employees to reveal their sexual orientations in the workplace. After all, some members of today’s workforce have ambivalent or even hostile attitudes toward LGBTQ members of society. Indeed, despite the enormous advances of the LGBTQ community in recent years, both in terms of judicial equality and widening social acceptance, they still suffer many forms of discrimination both inside and outside the workplace. This could come in the form of aggressiveness or exclusion, or being subject to mockery by their peers and colleagues.

But non-LGBTQ employees can help their companies create an atmosphere that makes everyone feel safe, respected and included. A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality and LGBTQ social movements, and who challenges homophobia, bi-phobia and trans-phobia. They accept everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity expression.

Some actions heterosexual allies can take to make their workplaces more inclusive are:

  • Be passionate in advocating for an equitable work environment.
  • Accept everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • Possess a clear understanding of the legacy of heterosexism and homophobia.
  • Demonstrate model behaviors and attitudes in everyday words and actions.
  • Stay committed to personal growth.

By modeling inclusive and respectful behaviors, employees can make themselves heterosexual allies, thus helping make their workplaces more comfortable for their LGBTQ colleagues.

Cheryl Williams