A little about LGBT+ issues
All workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at work. However, too often this is not the case for LGBT+ workers.
Harassment & unwanted behaviours
We know that LGBT+ workers can face harassment and often subjected to offensive, intimidatory or humiliating behaviours. TUC research found that 39% (two in five) LGBT+ workers have subjected to these behaviours from a colleague and 42% had heard colleagues make unwelcome comments or ask unwelcome questions about their sex life. Some useful toolkits are available from the TUC to help us tackle these issues, including preventing sexual harassment.
Accord signed a joint letter with the TUC and many other union's calling for improvements to workplace legislation to end violence in the workplace.
Anybody can be subject to domestic abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, or other socio-economic or personal characteristics. Abuse is most commonly within domestic relationships, but it can also be within close family groups such as parents to children. We often think of violence and threats when we think about domestic abuse, but there are many forms including financial abuse and emotional abuse such as gaslighting.
While domestic abuse can occur in all types of relationships, there are some specific issues which occur in an LGBT+ context such as threats to 'out' someone, undermining their gender or sexual identity and isolating them from their networks or support groups. In same sex relationships, abuse may seek to use stereotypes to deny violence is taking place or suggest it's a normal part of that type of relationship. In the transgender community, a form of abuse could be withholding medication such as hormone therapies, misgendering or using a 'dead name' purposefully to undermine the individual's sense of self.
Accord joined a join call with the TUC and other unions, calling on the government to promote equality and eliminate discrimination against LGBT+ people and build an inclusive culture in words and deeds that supports LGBT+ people’s safety, dignity and equality so that LGBT+ people can thrive and live authentically.
Hate crime and online abuse has been rising in recent years against Transgender people, and public discourse has sown division and suspicion about trans and non-binary people. Some educational institutions have been subjected to targeted campaigns seeking to misinform parents and the communities they serve. But it's not all doom and gloom. We've worked progressively with employers to promote Trans friendly policies. The TUC have created some useful tools that can help reps and members to tackle these issues head on.
Non-binary people want to be treated with respect in their workplace. A simple change we can all make is to display our pronouns on our email signatures - it's a small change but it lets non-binary people know that you're welcoming them and making them feel comfortable to talk about their own pronouns with you. Another simple but effective thing we can all do is to think about the language we use - why do we need to bring gender into a conversation where it has no place. For example, instead of saying ‘good morning ladies and gentlemen’ say ‘good morning everyone’. It's a simple, effective and inclusive change.
"LGBT+ workers have faced unprecedented pressures during the pandemic, often because of being isolated from support networks and specialist services. Some have endured the lockdown period with hostile and discriminatory family members. LGBT+ workers have also faced increased risks of domestic abuse over the lockdown period, with scarce support services available." - TUC Congress statement 2020
Dates for the diary
- February is LGBT+ history month.
- 31st March is International Transgender Day of Visibility
- 17th May is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
- June is Pride month
- 23rd September is Bi visibility day
- 11th October is National Coming Out Day. Check out Accord's Chris Rimell who created a short *award winning* video for 2020.
- 13th to 19th November is Transgender Awareness week
- 20th November is International Transgender Day of Remembrance
- 1st December is World AIDS Day
General LGBT+ support
Mental health support
Domestic abuse support
- National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline - call 0800 999 5428 - or email [email protected]
- Further information from Galop on domestic violence
- Domestic abuse emergencies - always dial 999 if it is an emergency and you think you are in immediate danger. Silent calls to the police will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted. Stay on the line.
- The TUC offer a free online guide for reps - check it out in our online training centre or search our resources
- Check out the government's Covid-19 guidance on getting help for domestic abuse
About the ED&I Group
The Accord Equality Diversity & Inclusion group’s aim is to maximise our members' potential, regardless of background, and ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect. It’s a place where diversity is celebrated, without prejudice or judgement. It’s a chance to collectively learn from our experiences, and enrich all our lives.