People should be free to be themselves in the workplace and personal attributes such as sexuality or gender identity should have no impact on the way they work, in the same way as gender or ethnicity should not.
LGBT+ people who are open about their sexuality are found to suffer from less depression, distraction and exhaustion than those who are not (Human Rights Campaign, 2009). They are also likely to have better job satisfaction and company loyalty, be more productive and have improved workplace relationships with peers (The Business Impact of LGBT Supportive Workplace Policies 2013).
The Gay in Britain Study 2013 found that in the general population:
- 1 in 5 LGB employees had experienced discrimination at work due to sexual orientation in the last 5 years
- 25% of LGB workers are not open to colleagues about their sexual orientation
- 42% of transgender people do not live permanently in their preferred gender role due to fear of how it will affect their worklife
British Veterinary LGBT+ will publish the results of their recent survey of UK vet students shortly, but a survey of over 5,000 US veterinary students in 2011 found that more than one in five LGBT+ students had overheard homophobic comments.
Creating a supportive environment
- Employers need to provide and promote LGBT+ supportive policies to foster openness
- Employees/students need to be aware of the policies
- Employers also need to nurture a culture of openness and inclusivity and put their policies into action
Support for the LGBT+ community
- British Veterinary LGBT+ are developing a resource for use by by practices to help reinforce an open and inclusive working environment and are developing the student BVLGBT+ Network. Contact [email protected]
- Organisations such as Switchboard provide support and information to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans people via their confidential helpline, instant messaging and email service
- The Gender Trust support anyone affected by gender identity issues, and has a list of local support groups, and therapists who specialise in supporting people with gender identity issues