Beyond Pride: Almost half of LGBTQIA+ workers face harassment at work

the discussion on what can be done to ensure we are listening to their wants and needs,” The Body Shop’s APAC brand and activism director Shannon Chrisp told Inside Retail

The ‘Out For Love’ report found that, despite all the advances society has seen in the treatment of people that identify as LGBTQIA+, 44 per cent have faced bullying, harassment or discrimination related to their gender identity or sexuality in the workplace. 

And these experiences impact the community’s confidence in applying for work as well: 40 per cent of LGBTQIA+ members said they have felt worried about applying for a position due to fears of how their identity will be received.

While allies in the workplace will stand up for their LGBTQIA+ colleagues, on the whole, they don’t share the same understanding of the issues at hand – something Minus18’s chief executive Micah Scott believes stems from their lack of lived experience.

One of the issues is that more non-LGBTQIA+ staff (87 per cent) are likely to believe that their workplace is an inclusive, safe space, compared to actual community members (74 per cent). 

“Allies might be able to empathise, but it would be difficult to truly understand the complexities of out-right discrimination, micro-aggressions and exclusionary policy, which can operate parallel to one another,” Scott told Inside Retail

What can retailers do?

If the business community still has a way to go, the question becomes what it can do to better support its LGBTQIA+ staff members.

According to Minus18’s Scott, businesses should always start with internal training on how to implement inclusive language, and understanding the diversity that exists within the LGBTQIA+ community, in order to create a space where people feel safe enough to be themselves. 

“To complement the training they’ve undertaken with our education team… [and in order to] create a safe space, The Body Shop has purchased pronoun pins for every team member across Australia and New Zealand, as well as ‘All Are Welcome’ stickers for their shop fronts,” Scott said. 

But, following the end of Pride Month, Scott believes the key to becoming a truly inclusive workplace is to ensure that any claims of support and inclusion made throughout the month of June are followed up through the rest of the year.

“It’s about ensuring that retailers play a role all year round, outside of just the ‘Pride moments’ that tend to be very consumer-centric,” Scott said. 

“This could be through celebrating days of visibility such as International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), Trans Day of Visibility, or Trans Awareness Week, or perhaps doing deeper training beyond LGBTQIA+ foundations and developing a better understanding of trans inclusion for both team and customers.”

In response to the findings, The Body Shop published and launched a ‘Work in Pride’ charter, which serves as a formal commitment of continuing support to its LGBTQIA+ staff, as well as the community more broadly, and is being implemented across Australia, the UK and North America. 

“The charter outlines five workplace commitments and policies, including equality of self-expression, the right for people to define their own identity, and the brand’s commitment to equally honouring all family structures and relationships,” said Chrisp.

“The Body Shop is an activist brand, and we want to drive real impact, not only for our own employees and customers, but for all Australians. We want to encourage workplaces to put similar charters in place so we can fight for a fairer future together.”

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