Know the history, and act to transform it.

In 1897, Magnus Hirschfeld, German physician, founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, considered the first formal group to defend Gay Rights. One of their goals was to repeal the paragraph in the German Penal Code that criminalized homosexuality since 1871.

In different parts of the world, other groups have formed to combat discrimination and violence perpetuated against LGBTQIAPN+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Ally/Asexual, Pansexual, Non-Binary) People. One, in particular, became quite famous: the Gay Liberation Front, “born out of the ashes of Stonewall” (2019).

Stonewall Inn was a bar in New York City where LGBTQIAPN+ People would gather. On June 28, 1969, a clash occurred between the police and patrons who, after being removed from the bar, confronted the police and protested the mistreatment they had experienced.

In June 1970, on the first anniversary of Stonewall, Pride Parades took place: in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and in New York (recognized as the first Pride Parade). The goal of these parades was to commemorate and give visibility to a Community that was often forced to hide and conform to the norms of a heteronormative society.

Since then, the month of June has become a symbol. It is a month to celebrate life and love and to acknowledge the hardships many had to endure so they could be recognized as part of society, without fear for their lives, jobs, loved ones, and well-being.

However, prejudice and discrimination are still part of daily life even in societies that celebrate Pride Month, have laws and regulations that protect LGBTQIAPN+ Rights, allow marriage between adults regardless of their sexual or gender identity and sexual orientation, and offer social security benefits.

We want to draw awareness of this fact: there is a lot of work to be done so LGBTQIAPN+ People can feel safe and feel they belong. Thus, we want to ask companies to take action and use the month of June to meaningfully start engaging with the topic (and to continue doing so in the years to come). 

Below, we list some actions your company can take:

– Use tools like UN LGBTIQ+ Standards Gap Analysis Tool to learn what your company can do to advance equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community.

– Send an anonymous survey to all employees to understand how the topics of sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender identity, are perceived at your company. Depending on the results, consider sending a follow-up survey to address the specific needs of LGBTQIAPN+ employees.

– Create an anonymous reporting system that allows employees to communicate misconduct and discrimination. This could be a simple form that not only includes misconduct and discrimination related to LGBTQIAPN+ but also harassment, inappropriate behavior, etc.

– Offer external training, at least to Leaders and People/HR Departments. You want allies/accomplices that have a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by LGBTQIAPN+ People with tools to intervene if necessary. Some companies offering training & workshops:

– State in the companies´ policies and contracts that discrimination against LGBTQIAPN+ is unacceptable. If your company is committed to protecting LGBTQIAPN+ Rights, it has to acknowledge that the prejudice, discrimination, and disrespect suffered by people are not minor matters and will be treated seriously.

– Diversify the platforms where your job ads are posted to attract new talent. Some examples that focus on LGBTQIAPN+ People are:

– Explicitly ask applicants to NOT include a picture and information about their gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation in their CV or the main part of the application.

    • “Asking about sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual characteristics in a job interview is permitted only when the inquiry is anonymous, confidential, and part of voluntary demographic questions separate from the recruitment decision-making process used only to track the company’s progress in implementing its equality and non-discrimination commitments.” (UN Global Pact)

– Stay up-to-date with the developments in the protection of LGBTQIAPN+ Rights. Some maps and reports to check regularly:

One last reminder, LGBTQIAPN+ People do not form a homogeneous group: it´s diversity within diversity. Ensure all the parts of this group are represented and intersectionality is being considered with the inclusion of PoC (People of Color), immigrants, and people with disabilities, for example.

Do not wait for another June to start transforming the processes at your company that will benefit LGBTQIAPN+ employees today. Inclusive Minds works towards a more inclusive world of work where human beings can be who they are without having to be constantly reminded that, in the recent past, their existence was not acknowledged and, worse, it was endangered. If your company needs support in implementing the actions mentioned above, contact us.

Author: Julianne Lopes
Editor: Amelia Suda-Gosch
Contributor: Felipe Rigueira


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