As you would know, Pride month (June) is around the corner. Many companies are all geared up to have a few LGBT events (mostly online, thanks to Corona). But apart from celebrating Pride month, what are the few basic steps that every corporate must take before announcing that they are LGBT friendly and inclusive.
The sexual harassment policy of most of the companies protects only the women employees of the organization. Also, as per the rules set by the Government, the companies are required to protect only the women from sexual harassment at the workplace. Many major corporates have gone beyond the same and have made the sexual harassment policy gender-neutral. This means, it covers the women, men and even the trans employees equally. This can surely be the first step to making your workplace LGBT friendly.
A lot of organizations have started building gender neutral washrooms, these days. Research shows that there are times when trans employees are not sure what washroom to use and as a result, they try to resist the urge to use the washroom leading to major urinary tract infections. A gender neutral washroom can play a huge role in solving this matter. What many companies are doing is, converting their “people with disability” washroom into a gender neutral and disability washroom. There must be a gender neutral washroom on every floor, and definitely if you know of any trans employees working on a specific floor.
This might require a lot of work, but will definitely help you in attracting some great LGBTQ talent. Choose an insurance provider that provides same-sex partner benefits, covers gender reassignment surgery (and does not consider it just a cosmetic surgery due to which major providers do not include it) and HIV medication cover as well. We shall come up with a list of LGBT friendly insurance providers soon.
As we all know, it is very difficult for LGBT employees to come out of the closet at their workplace. I had done a research which showed that the major fears they have are that- they might lose their job if they come out, they might not get a promotion, they will be made fun of and not included in office gatherings. Companies must take strict action against anyone found doing any of the above mentioned. This will help set an example that discrimination on any basis will not be tolerated at a workplace.
Start an employee resource group fro LGBTQ employees and their allies. This is one way of creating a safe space for the LGBTQ employees and a platform for allies to show their support. Have regular meetings to discuss how can your organisations be more LGBT friendly. They might come up with various ideas like having regular emails sent out, having a nukkad natak in the office, having a drag performance in the office or even a pride march within the campus.
Don’t just wake up in June to celebrate pride month. You are not being inclusive just by celebrating Pride Month, you are just using it as a marketing tactic. Have regular events all year round, put out an interview of any out LGBTQ person (if they are comfortable) who can serve as a role model to other employees, tie up with NGO’s that help corporates be more LGBT friendly. There are so many such organizations like Community Business, Working with pride, Pride Circle, Solidarity foundation who would be more than happy to have sessions in your organization.
If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to share with us and we will update the blog :)