The 1st of February marks the start of the annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in the UK.
Organisations across the country will this month reflect on the key milestones in LGBT+ history and share the inspirational stories of the people who paved the way for LGBT+ rights. As well as celebrate the amazing contributions of LGBT+ people to art, literature, and sport through this year’s theme of Politics in Art.
The event here in the UK came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 in 2003, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. We stand proudly behind the LGBT+ community and their right to work in an inclusive environment, which is why we are making our LGBT Awareness online course free for the month of February.
The course looks at diversity, important definitions within the LGBT+ community and practical ways to create an inclusive work environment.
Most people would describe themselves as not homophobic, but many people are unaware of how it feels to be LGBT+ in the workplace and the challenging situations their colleagues might be facing. From flippant remarks or insults to the nervousness of having to ‘come out’ repeatedly and worrying about colleagues’ reactions.
LGBT+ employees have been protected from homophobic discrimination and harassment in the workplace since 2003, but according to Stonewall almost 1 in 5 LGBT+ staff have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they are LGBT+ and more than a third say they have hidden or disguised they are LGBT+ at work because they were afraid of discrimination.
Our LGBT Awareness course aims to introduce these issues to team members and help build the foundations of an inclusive work environment. The course features real-life stories of LGBT+ people and their experiences of being LGBT+ in the workplace, which helps learners engage with the learning material in a more relatable way. After all, at the end of the day, we are all just people.
The course helps develop an understanding of some of the key definitions and terminology related to identifying as part of LGBT+ community.
Understanding key terminology can be a really useful tool in building an inclusive workplace environment as it helps people understand how to use the appropriate terminology when talking about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the impact of using offensive and outdated terms.
Many team members are conscious that they want to be inclusive but may be worried about saying the wrong thing or feel unconfident in their knowledge surrounding issues that they don’t have a lot of experience of, and the awareness course aims to help people feel more confident in handling inclusivity issues in the workplace.
The importance of this kind of training goes further than addressing the legalities of how we should act in the workplace and can help all team members feel that emotional issues are prioritised by their employer and help strengthen employer perceptions. 79% of users have rated our LGBT Awareness course 4 or 5 stars with 72% saying they would recommend the training to others, demonstrating the relevancy of our course for team members.
Employers who provide in-depth sexual orientation training can benefit from the talents of a diverse and united workforce and additionally equip customer-facing team members with the confidence to support their LGBT+ customers, improving customer satisfaction. The course lays the foundations for further learning and opening up discussions in the workplace.
Building an inclusive work environment allows every team member to perform to the best of their ability and helps you retain your talented staff and to prevent disciplinary procedures from becoming necessary.
Watch the video interviews of members of the community who share their personal stories below.