The first wedding I ever attended was my uncle's. It was an intimate celebration at their friend's house. There was a bowl of customized candies, a dog ring bearer, and a chocolate cake with a rainbow across it. That was the day I learned that love can come in many different forms, all of them being special and worthy.
After learning about the different types of love, I also learned about the hatred and discrimination the members of the LGBTQ+ community had to overcome (and continue to do so). I felt heartbroken knowing that there were people who didn't feel safe and accepted in their environment. There have been some moments of progress, but we still have further to go before we can reach equity. In 2021, the LGBTQ+ community is still struggling with feeling comfortable and accepted in their workplace.
There is a clear and obvious problem here. Members of the LGBTQ+ are still being discriminated against in the workplace. We can all work to make our businesses inclusive to both clients and employees. By working towards equal and safe work environments, we can help to break down barriers and support others.
How can we help? A few small, actionable changes, can make a difference in your workplace.
Educate yourself & your team: keep up to date on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and terminology
Ask, use, respect, and understand pronouns: By sharing our pronouns, we can encourage others to feel comfortable in sharing theirs. When someone tells you their pronouns, be sure to use them appropriately.
Be respectful: For many, sexuality and gender identity can be difficult to talk about. Don't force people to tell you their preferences. If someone confides in you, understand the trust they have in you and nurture that relationship.
Lead by example: Use inclusive language, encourage open and productive conversations, and create policies that promote equity.
Change doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen with just one person. We all have to work together to create a safe environment for everyone to thrive.