Monday mornings have a great ability in bringing colleagues together as they discuss their weekend activities, partners, interests and the inevitable competition over who is looking forward to next weekend the most. But for the invisible minority who identify as LGBTQ+, and aren’t ready to ‘come out’ at the workplace, these conversations can feel like a minefield of non-specific gender pronouns and carefully worded descriptions of their ‘friend’ who they seem to spend an awful lot of time with…
Being both LBGTQ+ and authentic at the workplace can be a daunting prospect, but at our panel discussion last Friday we heard from Bronya Oldfield (from Vodafone) and Jenny Fallover (2017 Stonewall Role Model of the Year). Both are “out” in the workplace and this has propelled Jenny’s career forward, and given Bronya more opportunities and exposure to stretch herself.
Jenny spoke candidly about how she “accidentally” became a role model for lesbians and women in Technology. As an introverted ‘in the closet at work’, techie woman in a predominantly male industry, she decided that perhaps to help her grow in confidence she needed a role model to look up to and relate to. Jenny looked around at who could be such a role model for younger women and realised it would have to be her. Seeing such a confident woman excelling at her job as a key, influential member of the LGBTQ+ community has given other members of the community confidence that they too can be without fear of hampering their career progression.
When colleagues open up, they find out what makes them different from one another. More importantly though, they find out what they have in common. Diversity in the workplace is achieved when we realise that everyone ticks multiple boxes relating to diversity and that it makes us stronger as a society. When we no longer have to worry about telling our colleagues that our partner is the same sex as us, or that we identify as a gender we were not assigned at birth, we can finally relax and spend that saved energy concentrating on our jobs and getting to know our colleagues.
Providing LGBTQ+ individuals with the opportunity to be authentic at work is not only good for us, it’s good for the business!
As it’s PRIDE week, we are encouraging discussions on everything LGBT+. If you have any questions about this article, or anything at all let us know.