And yes, we are LGBTQ+ friendly.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people come from diverse backgrounds with very different life experiences and expectations. But we are all united by one thing - we all love weddings.
We live in a society which generally assumes that everyone is heterosexual and has a fixed gender identity. This can make some of us feel excluded, isolated or unwelcome.
What we actively do to support LGBTQ+ members?
We listen to how people describe their own identity, gender, partners and relationships and reflect their choice of language.
We avoid making assumptions about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity: use gender-neutral terms such as partner(s).
Many languages use terms to describe LGBT people which may be derogatory. If we are translating material, be aware of the cultural context of the terms we are using.
Most people are happy with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender but if we are in doubt - we always ask.
We display a visible non-discrimination statement, for example: ‘our organisation provides equality of services and care to everyone, regardless of people’s age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation.’
We make sure that our organisation’s equality and diversity policy and statement are on display and publicised.
We display clear statements on zero tolerance for racist or homophobic language.
We monitor the sexual orientation of all staff and service users, in line with confidentiality and data protection protocols and with an opt-out option for those who prefer not to disclose this information. This enables us to identify gaps in service provision and staffing balance. Any form used needs to state clearly what the information will be used for. Without this monitoring LGBT people’s exclusion will continue to be ignored.
We ensure confidentiality to all staff and service users, unless they personally choose to be ‘out’ themselves. Confidentiality can be a matter of personal safety rather than purely about privacy.
We explore ways of creatively integrating LGBT issues into our work rather than separating them out or having them as an add on.
We are being careful in areas where we have gender segregation as a policy and ensure that we have included the needs of transgender people.
LGBT people come from all sectors of the community. Good access principles still apply - ensure that we provide appropriate access in terms of all equality issues.
We provide training for all staff - paid and unpaid - on LGBT issues. This gives out a clear message that discrimination against LGBT people is not acceptable and improves people’s understanding of the discrimination that LGBT people may face.
We encourage all staff and volunteers to challenge negative comments and ‘jokes’ about LGBT people and/or LGBT issues, and ensure that people know this is their responsibility. This particularly applies to managers who have responsibilities for ensuring equality in the workplace and for services provided under statutory employment regulations and is a legislative duty.
We encourage our staff members to report incidents of homophobic abuse, whether they occur within or outside the workplace. Take any reports of homophobic behaviour within the workplace seriously, and act on them promptly. Have information about reporting hate incidents to the Police or to a third party reporting centre readily available.
Information about staff members’ sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered strictly confidential and should be treated as such by HR departments.
We support role models: for example LGBT staff who are ‘out’. Staff should be encouraged to attend organisational LGBT networks/support groups in paid time. Display posters which publicise such groups and/or which feature positive images of, or statements about, LGBT people.
Our organization has frontline staff it’s vitally important that, as the first point of contact, they treat everyone with equal respect, regardless of their identity.
We advertise our vacancies and services in the LGBT press and through local LGBT groups.
We keep up-to-date information about local LGBT groups and organisations and other relevant resources. This will assist with staff awareness, referrals and networking.
When publicising events and consultations, we make sure that many LGBT people do not go to gay venues. Publicise events and services in mainstream venues and publications as well as in specialist arenas.
If we are using community groups to assist we in consultation or involvement work, support them by either providing administrative support or paying for their work.
We consider using a neutral venue for meetings, or a place where LGBT people feel safe to be open such as an LGBT Centre.
When working with LGBT couples, we remember that they are least likely to be ‘out’ in the place they live because of the possibility of harassment and compromising personal safety. This may particularly be an issue in neighbourhood work.
Whilst there is commonality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, some issues will be specific to individual communities.
Information & Visibility
Having LGBT information on display creates a welcoming atmosphere. This could include LGBT posters showing people from the diverse community in which we live.
We use images of LGBT people in a wide range of our publicity materials, not just in documents which are specifically aimed at the LGBT community. This sends out a clear message that we recognise the positive contribution that LGBT people can make to our society and that our entire organisation is welcoming to LGBT people.
We ensure that posters and information are clearly visible and that they remain on display.
We support LGBT communities by advertising our organisation in LGBT publications, sponsoring LGBT events or working in partnership with LGBT organisations.
With love, Wedabelle