June is Pride Month – an annual celebration of pride for LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus) communities. Pride is not just a celebration, however, and originally began as a protest against the criminalisation and oppression of gender and sexual minorities. Here our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Jack discusses how Family Action is working to honour that spirit of protest and liberation and outlines the changes we’re making to support our LGBTQIA+ staff members.
At Family Action, we’ve taken June as a time to reflect on some of the ways our services are working to support people in LGBTQIA+ communities. We know that, like many employers and service providers, we still have more to do to support the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our workforce and through the work we do in our services. We also know that, while Pride Month only lasts for June and is a great opportunity to reflect on the work we are doing and the progress we are making, we need to work toward LGBTQIA+ inclusion throughout the year.
We’ve run a number of articles throughout the month relating to Pride Month but for our final update we are reflecting on some of the work we are doing internally to become a more LGBTQIA+ inclusive employer.
Earlier this year, we created an LGBTQIA+ Equality Network for our staff. This is a self-defining space for LGBTQIA+ employees to come together, share their experiences, and challenge the organisation to make changes to further LGBTQIA+ inclusion and the representation of LGBTQIA+ people. We have two co-chairs in place to lead the network and are hoping to support it to grow and expand, alongside our other staff diversity networks, over the coming months.
One of the most immediate priorities identified so far by our new LGBTQIA+ employee network has been to prepare our first-ever organisational submission to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. Our submission to the index will provide us with an opportunity to review where we are currently in terms of LGBTQIA+ inclusion, where we can demonstrate our commitments, and where we need to develop and improve to ensure that we can better embed and realise inclusion for LGBTQIA+ people.
To ensure that we can make this process as meaningful as possible, we have created a small, focused internal working group to prepare and deliver our submission to the index, and to develop an action plan for any resulting changes to our policies, processes and support for staff. We are also becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion so that we can benefit from the research and guidance Stonewall has created, and to give ourselves the best chance of making informed and meaningful progress.
“We have already started to take small internal steps to better recognise and celebrate LGBTQIA+ identities in the workplace”
We have already started to take small internal steps to better recognise and celebrate LGBTQIA+ identities in the workplace. In February this year, we celebrated LGBTQIA+ History Month with our staff. Activities included sharing resources, reading lists and information about influential figures, delivering workshops on LGBTQIA+ inclusion with a handful of our services, and inviting the Albert Kennedy Trust to lead a workshop on the background to LGBTQIA+ History Month and the impact of the Covid-19 impact on LGBTQIA+ young people. We also encouraged staff to include their pronouns in their email signature, where they are able to, as a signal of support and inclusion for our trans and non-binary colleagues, volunteers and service users.
We know we have more to do and this is just the beginning of our work on LGBTQIA+ inclusion. We hope in the future we will be able to share updates on our progress with our wider community, and that we will be able to make tangible progress in embedding LGBTQIA+ inclusion for our staff, volunteers and our service users.
Find out more about what we do, working at Family Action or volunteering with one of our services.