“But, LGBT people have got equal legal rights now, so we don’t need to do anything else, right?”
Being LGBT+ friendly as an organisation, business, educational establishment, charity, medical services provider or corporate body is not something that is difficult or complicated, and you certainly don’t need to shy away from it because you think it might be a sensitive issue. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable in having equal access to your services.
- Support your local LGBT+ service and know where it is! A client, student or colleague may come to you and ask, it will reflect better on your organisation if you already know where it is.
- Display a rainbow flag in your building and on your website so that your clients/ customers/ students/patients can easily see it, to let them know that you support and include LGBT+ people.
- If someone comes to you and identifies as LGBT+, treat that information sensitively and keep it confidential.
- Discrimination against a couple or individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is against the law, under the Equality Act 2010. There are a few exceptions, so ensure that you are familiar with the revised law.
Already done the simple stuff? try these on for size:
- If you are a larger organisation, you may consider having an LGBT network or forum for your staff or students.
- Consider booking an information stand for your organisation at your local Pride, or sponsoring the event.
- Ask your local LGBT support service to do a talk for your staff or a drop in session to raise awareness of LGBT issues.
- Ensure your staff are aware of discrimination and bullying based on being LGBT, cultivate an open and inclusive workplace which values diversity. It can only benefit you.
- Look over your own policies and check that they are inclusive to LGBT people: you may want to review parental/ adoption leave for same sex couples, time off for gender treatment appointments and/or surgery recovery. You may want to define which PE changing room a student can use if they identify as gender neutral or transgender, or which uniform items a student or staff member is permitted to wear if they choose to change their gender.
- Consider defining sexual orientation and gender identity as categories in any anti-bullying/harrassment policies you may already have.
- If you are a single gender educational establishment, you may want to introduce a policy for the acceptance of transgendered students.
- You might consider having a loo designated as gender neutral. The White House has had one since April 2015 and they are currently being considered by the House of Commons.
- If you recruit for permanent or temporary posts within your organisation, consider removing names from the application forms prior to the shortlisting process to ensure that no unintentional gender bias enters your selection process.
- Consider confidential HR records having a free text space for individuals to self- define their own gender identity and sexual orientation. If you feel it’s important enough for you to monitor, it’s important enough to be recorded accurately.
If you have specific questions about LGBT+ and employment or access to services, you are welcome to give us a call to discuss your requirements, and we can use our 30+ years of experience to help you find a solution.