The CIPD celebrates diversity and invites members to join them at London Pride 2018 (#IDAHoBiT)

Ciprian Arhire calls on organisations to tackle discrimination at work and celebrate the value of diversity

2018 marks the second year of existence for the CIPD’s first LGBT+ and Allies Network and our mission of raising the profile of LGBT+ diversity and inclusion-related issues across the organisation and within our membership has never been more ambitious. In these past two years, we have tackled unconscious bias, appropriate language and terminology, embedded more inclusion in our practices and strengthened our connection to the CIPD’s PACE Values.

As Brad Taylor, People Director at the CIPD mentioned in our internal communications, “The CIPD is committed to creating an inclusive workplace, where everyone is recognised and valued, regardless of their gender identity, and where barriers that prevent people from feeling at ease and respected are removed. The whole leadership team at the CIPD passionately believes that people matter and we want to create an inclusive work environment where all our colleagues feel confident bringing their whole selves to work."

To support our organisational journey to a more inclusive culture, the LGBT+ & Friends group has been a critical ally to our leadership and HR teams, supporting our policies and employee life cycle review as well as the development of Diversity Allies and role models that are key to our progression towards our D&I objectives and our vision of becoming one of the leading inclusive organisations in the next three years.

To become a more inclusive employer, we have been designing and delivering workplace interventions and the most recent one relates to the CIPD’s awareness session to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (#IDAHOBIT) that takes place on 17 May. The day commemorates the World Health Organization’s 1990 decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder, and it’s also a global celebration of sexual and gender diversities, which recognises the work still needed before all LGBT people, both here and abroad, are accepted without exception.

The theme for this year’s #IDAhoBiT is called “Alliances for Solidarity” and highlights the importance of allies and role models in workplaces and societies. By looking at the recent survey research from Stonewall, called LGBT in Britain – work report, it’s clear that though progress has been made towards reducing discrimination and improving the inclusion of LGBT people through policies and regulations, there’s still a long way to go until we remove bias, ignorance and start creating an inclusive environment at work and in our societies.

As this research highlights, it’s unacceptable that:

  • Almost one in five LGBT staff (18%) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they're LGBT
  • One in eight trans people (12%) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year because of being trans
  • One in ten black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT staff (10%) have similarly been physically attacked because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

As a result, more than a third (35%) of LGBT+ people don’t feel the workplace a safe place to be themselves and are hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity throughout their employment, hiding who they are from their colleagues because they are afraid of discrimination.

What is even worse is that one in eight lesbian, gay and bi people (12%) say they wouldn’t feel confident reporting any homophobic or biphobic bullying to their employer, while one in five trans people (21%) wouldn’t report transphobic bullying in the workplace.

As people professionals, we have a responsibility to support the development of inclusive organisational cultures where people feel they can be themselves, where they are valued, and they can be productive. We need to partner with leaders in our organisations to drive the D&I agenda. We need to hear voices across our organisation to identify the challenges people are having in feeling a sense of belonging and we need to create inclusive policies and drive the practice of them.

If you need support or guidance to start creating a more inclusive culture for your organisation, have a look at our Sexual orientation discrimination Q&As, our Factsheet on Harassment and bullying at work or Stonewall's Inclusive Policy Toolkit to ensure you have a good understanding of the issue and clear routes for reporting any instances of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in your organisation.

To strengthen our commitment to LGBT+ Diversity and Inclusion, the CIPD will be marching for the second year running at the London Pride March on 7 July, bringing together a mix of employees, volunteers and members, joined by friends and family. Places are limited, but we would be honoured if you would Join us and March for Diversity!

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