How to be an ally in your workplace

How to be an ally in your workplace
By Alana Cumming
February 7, 2024
6 mins read
How to be an ally in your workplace
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With UK LGBT+ History Month in full swing, it is more important than ever to ensure that we play our part in creating an inclusive work environment for our co-workers within the LGBT+ community. 

 

 

It’s not enough to simply say you’re an LGBT+ ally; you have to act like one. Discriminating against someone because of their gender and sexual orientation is a criminal offence, and yet a survey in the UK found a staggering 35% of LGBT+ workers say they’ve hidden their sexual orientation while at work for fear of discrimination. 

 

With figures as high as that, it’s time for proud allies, not just at work, but everywhere to speak out about how we can all come together and help improve the lives of the LGBT+ community everywhere. At LHi, we are committed to making a difference and want the work we do to have a genuine impact on the world, so no matter what your orientation is, you can make a difference. 

 

We understand that some people may not know where to start or how to be a proud ally so, here are some ways to act as an ally for LGBT+ inclusion and to help prevent discrimination. 

 

1. Use gender-neutral greetings: 

Sometimes it’s a common mistake for people to assume an individual’s gender identity by using a gender-specific greeting unintentionally, such as, ‘Hey dude’ or ‘Morning ladies’. Until you know people’s personal gender pronouns, go with gender-neutral pronouns, as although some may not see it as offensive, others could. So, the next time you address a number of people or send an email to a big group, use a gender-neutral introduction —instead of saying, “Hi guys,” go with a simple “Hi everyone” or ‘Morning all’.[1] 

 

 

 

2. Read up and empower yourself 

Did you know that UK LGBT+ History month is celebrated in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 (a series of laws across Britain that prohibited the "promotion of homosexuality") 

 

Or did you know that almost two in five bisexual people hide their sexual orientation? [2] 

 

Straight allies don’t have to be experts in all matters LGBT+, but empowering yourself with a strong knowledge base is an important step in your allyship journey. 

 

 

 

3. Familiarise yourself with the language 

To ensure that your workplace is inclusive, an important step is doing something as easy as reading a glossary of terms and teaching yourself the right language to use when talking with LGBT+ people. It’s a small but crucial step you can take to educate yourself and make sure you are using the terminology to be respectful to everyone around you. 

 

Whether you refer to google and online resources or even YouTube videos, it allows you to expand your knowledge and gives a good idea of what each term means so that you can familiarise yourself. Whilst it will make the people around you feel comfortable, it also will help you to feel more confident when discussing LGBT+ issues, and feel like you can really get involved with the conversations.