Inclusive workplaces have a huge part to play in this making this world a fair and open space for all. But inclusion is not always a given and coming out at work can still be a risk for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Key findings from Stonewall (2018) LGBT at work report:
- 18% of LGBTQIA+ staff members have been target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues because of their sexual orientation.
- 12% of LGBTQIA+ people wouldn't feel confident reporting homophobic or biphobic bullying to their employers. Further to this, 21% wouldn't report transphobic bullying in their workplace. Read report here.
This survey was conducted with 5,000 respondents and highlights the discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+ colleagues. These statistics allow us to understand the challenges and barriers to accessing inclusive workplaces and we should be mindful of these. What are the ways we can support LGBTQIA+ colleagues?
Mental Health First Aid training
NHS England are offering a cohort of training sessions comprising of four half-day learning sessions, facilitated virtually and you will need to attend all four half-day sessions to gain your certificate.
Provides counselling and support service for LGBT+ communities. Runs a range of support groups and social activities for example for lesbians/bisexual women, for Black, Asian and BAME women, a non-scene men’s group. Visit their website.
North West London Lesbian and Gay Group
A social activity group established in 1971 who welcome all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Find out more.
ELOP LGBT Mental Health and Wellbeing
ELOP is an LGBT Health and Wellbeing Charity serving London and Essex. ELOP has been providing counselling for the LGBT community for 25 years. They offer one-to-one sessions, a weekly wellbeing workshop and a peer support group and befriending group. To find out more information, or to self-refer, contact email@example.com.
An LGBT group for young people in Harrow aged 14–18 meets weekly to build friendships, discuss their sexuality and much more. Blue also provides one-to-one support for young people who are not ready to attend the group meetings.
Mosaic Youth Service
LGBT youth service operating in the London boroughs of Brent, Westminster and Ealing. For young people aged 13–19.
More signposting support
- Galop – advice and support for people who have suffered hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse.
- Gendered Intelligence - offers advice on gender diversity and improving the lives of trans people.
- Imaan – supporting LGBTQ+ Muslims.
- LGBT Hero Forums – provide a safe space to talk about life issues.
- LGBT Foundation – offers talking therapy programmes.
- Mermaids – offers a helpline and web chat services supporting transgender people and parents of transgender children.
- Mind LGBTQ – mental health support from Mind specifically for LGBTQ+ people.
- MindLine Trans+ - mental health support line for people who identify as transgender, agender, gender fluid and non-binary.
- Mind Out - mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people.
- Pink Therapy – online directory of therapists who specialise in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Stonewall – LGBTQ+ charity, who provide advice on a range of topics.
- Support U – confidential support phone lines for advice and information.
- Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline – listening service via phone, email and online chat.
- THT Direct – offering sexual health advice and information.
Some staff identify themselves as LGBTIQ+, which means we may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning - or we may define our gender and sexuality in other ways.
Those staff members who identify as LGBTIQ+ are more likely to experience a mental health problem than the wider population. This is because LGBTIQ+ people experience bullying, rejection, stigma and discrimination, which too often leads to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and isolation.
It's important to note being LGBTIQ+ does not cause these problems. The reasons why colleagues with LGBTIQ+ identities are more likely to get them are very complicated. But it is most likely to do with facing things like:
- homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
- stigma and discrimination
- difficult experiences of coming out
- social isolation, exclusion and rejection.
Mind have a website page on LGBTIQ+ mental health support covers lots of options. This includes tips on self-care, seeking help and specialist LGBTIQ+ services.
Terminology relating to LGBTQ+ identities and experiences is changing constantly. The use of specific terms becomes contested, and new best practice terminology emerges. The use of certain terms also depends on individual preference and the terminology they feel best represents their own identity and experience.
This section includes a small amount of terminology and meanings that is used to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as additional resources to extend your knowledge of LGBTQ+ Glossary of terms
- Lesbian: a woman who is primarily attracted to women.
- Gay: a man who is primarily attracted to a men. Also used as a broad term for those attracted to the same sex.
- Bisexual: an individual attracted to people of their own and opposite gender.
- Transgender: a person whose gender identity is different to their assigned sex at birth.
- Queer: an umbrella term used to be inclusive of all identities and variations in the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Intersex: an individual whose chromosomes or sexual biology does not fit within traditional "male" and "female". May also share fem- and masc- inclinations and preferences.
- Asexual: a person who does not feel sexual desire or attraction to any group of people. It has sub-groups with variation in asexuality and is not identical to celibacy.
- + Plus: This is used to be inclusive of all groups within the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Some examples are Pansexual or Allies.
If there are any fixes you feel are appropriate to add, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your recommendation.
There are various types of gender based violence. Gender based violence is considered to be any harmful act directed against individuals of groups of individuals on the basis of their gender.
Definitions such as these specifically refer to instances in which gender is the basis of violence against a person. However, there is more to gender than being male or female. For example, an individual may be born with female sexual characteristics but choose to identify as male, or as male and female at the same time, or sometimes as neither male nor female. LGBT+ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other people who do not fit the heterosexual norm or traditional gender binary categories) also suffer from violence which is based on perceived sexual orientation and or gender identity.
There are many forms of gender based violence; psychological, physical, sexual and verbal. Any individual can be the perpetrator. Gender based violence can take place in all workplaces, across all sectors impacting individuals in both the public and private sphere. It is important to continue to expand our understanding of gender based violence, through open-minded discussion and advocacy.
For further support visit our staying safe: domestic violence and abuse self-help resources page.
The best employers understand why all their employees should feel welcome, respected and represented at work. Inclusion is able to drive better individual, business and organisational outcomes. Staff must be able to bring their whole selves to work, because when LGBTQIA+ employees feel free to be themselves, everybody benefits. A culture of 'silence' prevents LGBTQIA+ staff from encompassing their sexual identity with their work identity, which can lead to dissatisfaction and lower rates of employment (Priola et al., 2014).
- Do not make assumptions. Being clear about pronouns, partner status and sometimes the lack of these is important for the individual. It provides them with agency that they may not have in other aspects of their life.
- Take LGBTQIA+ discrimination seriously. This may be through underhanded comments, false stereotypes or other means. A strong anti-discrimination policy and workplace benefits everyone.
- Develop support programmes and clear mission for supporting LGBTQIA+ employees. This can be through diversity and inclusivity training for senior employees but also establishing networks.
- Promote allies of LGBTQIA+ people. This can be by promoting workplace champions, training senior staff or safe people that LGBT employees can come to in times of need.
- Support the local LGBT community. Something as easy as getting in contact with local organisations (e.g. Stonewall) and finding out how a relationship can be created and whether webinars, events or similar things can be supported.
- Become an NHS Rainbow Champion. Play your part promoting LGBT inclusion in healthcare.
Remember some colleagues may feel the risk of coming out at work can sometimes outweigh the benefits - especially in a workplace that doesn't harbour inclusivity. Read more about these risks.
Source: adapted from Glassdoor and The Muse.