Sexual diversity in the workplace - it pays off!
Homophobia is a form of discrimination; it is a negative attitude, a
negative feeling, an aversion to homosexual people or homosexuality in
general. Homophobia manifests itself as hate, disdain, hostility and
rejection of people thought to be homosexual and anything related to them.
This is especially true to people whose appearance and behaviour do not fit
the perceived stereotypes of masculinity or femininity.
It is about attitudes
In open societies where the law protects LGBTTIQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, transsexual persons, intersex, queer, questioning, two
spirited) rights, workplaces are adjusting to this reality. Fortunately,
plenty of progress has been made. No one would attempt to be openly hostile
towards sexual diversity or sexually diverse people. Yet despite this
tolerance, we continue to seek acceptance in the workplace and OPSEU. It is
about attitudes. A positive workplace and OPSEU environment happens through
positive attitudes. The worst enemy is still indifference which includes
saying, seeing and doing nothing. This indifference usually comes from
people uncomfortable with the sexual orientation of workers. This in turn
prevents the development of closer relationships and full integration.
What can you do in OPSEU and your workplace?
promote the idea that fighting homophobia in the workplace and OPSEU is
profitable for companies, institutions and employers;
LGBTTIQQ2S members reach their full potential
within the workplace and OPSEU;
motivate more workers to stay in local towns instead of fleeing to big
cities because of their sexual orientation;
inform and raise the awareness of all members, workers and employers about
the consequences of homophobia;
encourage employers to adopt policies that discourage homophobia in their
LGBTTIQQ2S workers feel even more included in the businesses they work for;
motivate people to start LGBTTIQQ2S committees in the workplace and OPSEU’s
regions. This can include: joining the Rainbow Alliance, participating in
regional human rights committees as well as local PRIDE festivities;
Recognize the importance of staff retention!
More often than not, companies
that do not welcome LGBTTIQQ2S workers lose
out on productive individuals without
Productivity losses cost a lot!
Research generally shows that homophobia in the workplace can lead to lower
productivity, undermine people in sexual minority groups and impede their
full potential at work;
Discrimination costs a lot!
Any kind of discrimination in the workplace is expensive for companies.
Mental harassment, psychological disorders and bullying are just a few of
the damaging side effects of discrimination;
·Self-realization pays off!
It is well known that the best way to motivate workers is to give them a
path to self-realization. Feeling good and comfortable with workplace
relationships (employer and co-workers) are invaluable factors of
self-realization. Moreover, an open-minded workplace is an incentive to
join a company.
·Feeling good in your environment.
Feeling good in your work environment is crucial. People from the
LGBTTIQQ2S community do not choose their sexual orientation. Nevertheless,
they do choose whether or not to hide it. People who trust their co-workers
usually choose to tell them and feel relieved when they do. It helps them
build complicit relationships and gain everyone’s trust.
·Coming out in the workplace.
Companies, institutions and employers can provide
welcoming workplaces by reflecting a positive attitude and creating work
environments that are conducive to their employees being free to reveal
their sexual orientation. Lastly, it is always up to the person to disclose
their sexual orientation to whom they want and when they want.
Alliance been doing to raise the profile of LGBTTIQQ2S members in OPSEU and
Participate in Queer Ontario
Participate in Cross Cultural Learning Centre
Participate with Rainbow Health Ontario Equity Network
Network and participate with Canadian Professional Association for Trans
Forums and presentations on emerging issues in our communities during
Convention 2012, Toronto PRIDE 2011 and International Day to End Racial
Partner with other caucuses and committees on intersecting concerns to our
Attended International Out Games and Human Rights Conference
Attended conference on Seniors issues in the LGBTTIQQ2S communities
Attended GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE (GSA) meetings
Attended health conferences on LGBTTIQQ2S issues
Provide resources to members as requested on LGBTTIQQ2S issues in the
the design of an OPSEU lunch and learn course on
trans issues in the workplace