Improving The Workplace For LGBT Employees

  1. Jill Andrews
  2. May 11, 2017 11:52 am

Improving The Workplace For LGBT Employees


In an age where diversity is often championed as the driving force behind progress, there is a surprising lack of diversity in the workforce when it comes to the LGBT community. The younger generations are more vocal about their orientation, and as a result there are larger and larger groups of LGBT employees entering the workforce. As much as 20 percent of LGBT workers claims they have experienced mistreatment at their place of employment as a direct result of their orientation, and most states don’t have laws that protect such workers. Many minorities, not just the LGBT community, have suffered similarly, and that can lead to a portion of the workforce that is jaded and guarded against meeting new employers and peers. In order to reverse that trend, workplaces need to be more mindful of their treatment of LGBT workers by employing some of the methods described here.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

It should be up to the individual to discuss their orientation in the workplace, so assumptions don’t help anyone. If you feel you are aware of someone else’s orientation, wait for them to bring it up before making comments that may be based on nothing other than prejudice.

2. Provide Support Examples

Don’t come right out and say that you or your company supports LGBT workers, especially to someone who hasn’t expressed their orientation. Instead, subtly mention your support indirectly. This will help those employees realize you are an ally to them.

3. Be Discrete

If someone confides their sexuality to you, discretion is of the utmost importance. They may only feel comfortable telling you or a small group of employees, and they may wish to keep it a secret from the majority. Respect the privacy of those who confide in your for anything, whether it’s an LGBT issue or not.

4. No Two People Are Alike

Some people have no trouble discussing their personal lives, but others are not as open. Ignore stereotypes and don’t rely on them for cues about how to relate to someone in the LGBT community. This is great advice for everyday life, but it is especially vital when dealing with the LGBT community.

5. Don’t Focus On Orientation

Sexual orientation does not define a person, so don’t use that knowledge to treat members of the LGBT community any differently. Talk to them about the same subjects you would discuss with anyone else. In essence, treat them as if they are just people, not specifically LGBT.

6. Research

Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the LGBT community, the more likely you are to positively interact with it. There are tons of resources out there that can be used to educate yourself, and that includes both internet sources and history books.

7. Promote Diversity

Make it clear to all employees that diversity is appreciated and desired. This can be accomplished with a small celebration or other such event that is meant specifically to promote the diversity of the workplace.