Sexuality (or sexual orientation) for decades has been one of the main topics of discussion in our society, media, politics, history and everyday life. Sexuality when refers to people attracted to the same sex (gays, lesbians and bisexuals) opens an umbrella for specific discourse. LGBT has become the shorthand acronym for these groups of people (Lesbian, Gays, Bi-sexuals and Transgender) with this specific characteristic of sexuality. Historically, society has manifested its intolerance towards LGBT groups: one of many circumstances of this intolerance has traditionally been in the workplace.
The Equality Act 2010 created a protection and freedom for employees to be sparred from discrimination in relation to sexual orientation, gender identity and harassment. This mechanism has been put in place to protect LGBT employees so that they would have a comfortable and sympathetic place to work where everyone is treated equally regardless to their sexuality or gender identity.
However, media researches have confirmed that LGBT people, who are ‘out’ in the workplace, especially in Europe and the US, feel like they do not need to hide any aspects of their personalities. This can be seen across different businesses and employers. Further more, companies are providing diversity and inclusion training so employees can understand and learn about their LGBT colleagues. See the guardian report here.
Has it really improved, the relationship between companies and employees and between colleagues? Are people more accepting of LGBT colleagues at workplace? Dane McDonald (Dane’s Vimeo), who is a producer and director for TV and also a member of the LGBT community, has given us his opinion on the topic: see video below.
Not only employers are working to promote diversity and equality, but members of the LGBT community are also making a difference to help their fellow members. Attitude magazine has reported that two gay brothers have launched the ‘LGBT Linkedin’, called myGwork, a website that operates as a professional network platform where members can create and share their professional profiles. The bothers said: “the website is already attracting global interest as individual and organisations with more than 100 members per day”. Could this be just the beginning of another great invention which will help LGBT people to be more open and happier at the workplace? Or it will separate even more people with different sexual orientation?
Statistics and media research, have proven that LGBT acceptance in the workplace has changed dramatically considering that 50 years ago homosexuality was illegal in the UK .The Sexual Offences Act 1967, decriminalised homosexual acts in private between consenting adults who had attained the age of 21. It is sad to say that unfortunately people around the world still are killed because of their sexuality in 2017. It is also possible to notice that some industries are more open to LGBT people than others. There is a lot of work still to be done, people to educate, change of law and acceptance by society. Business and politicians are ‘walking’ towards the right direction where humanity will prevail. Unfortunately some countries are not in the same pace of transition as Europe and US. Next to follow, we will look into these countries where LGBT groups remain not acceptable or it is even considered a crime.