Blog, Employee Wellbeing
Pride at Benefex – Strength in Solidarity
Authors: Michael Davison, Senior Project Manager and Felix Sexton, Wellbeing Executive - Benefex
So far, 2023 has seen a series of wins for the LGBTQ+ community such as the introduction of laws legalising same-sex marriage in Slovenia, and the ongoing trend of positive representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in the media. However, many of these wins have been marred with a tinge of sadness and anger due to the continued marginalisation that many LGBTQ+ individuals face. Some notable examples being the drag ban in Tennessee and the new bill in Florida that seeks to impede both minors and adults obtaining gender-affirming healthcare.
Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric has been rising drastically in the EU in recent years. In 2022, the UK Home Office’s annual hate crime statistics report highlighted that homophobic hate crimes increased by 41% and transphobic hate crimes by 56%, in England and Wales. This report attributes the rise in transphobic hate crimes in part to anti-trans media reporting. Meanwhile, Transgender Europe recently ranked Ireland as the worst country in the EU for gender-affirming healthcare. These events show that we all need to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, now more than ever.
One only has to look at previous struggles for equal rights to know that nothing has ever been achieved by one group alone, whether that be the fight for suffrage or civil rights. Every marginalised group needs allies who are not from that community to procure change. Standing in solidarity with minority communities is a critical aspect of promoting social justice and equality.
Showing support for marginalised communities involves recognising the struggles faced by that community and working to amplify the voices of those from that group. It is important for everyone to be involved in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, regardless of their gender or sexuality, as this helps to create lasting social change.
Supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues – where to start
There are small steps that we can all take to show our support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Specifically, here are some ways to support your LGBTQ+ colleagues:
1. Pronoun sharing:
This is one of the easiest ways to show your support for trans/gender non-conforming individuals. Sharing your pronouns on your email signature, LinkedIn profile, or social media profiles is a small step we can all take to normalise discussions about gender.
2. Educate yourself:
Take some time to learn about current issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, and the correct terminology to use when referring to this community. There are an abundance of books, podcasts, videos, and articles that examine challenges faced by members of this community, which can help us to become more informed and better allies to this group. Here are some useful resources:
3. Be an active ally:
Actively advocating and supporting LGBTQ+ rights is something everyone should be involved in, all year round. Speak out against discrimination, prejudice, and homophobic/transphobic remarks wherever you encounter them. As well as this, try to be as inclusive as possible in the language you use. Respect individuals’ chosen names and pronouns, and practice using gender-neutral language.
4. Support employee advocacy groups (we have United@Benefex):
United@Benefex works to create a culture of inclusivity and acceptance here at Benefex. United@Benefex is an employee-led group that works to enact meaningful change relating to issues of DE&I. Membership is open to anyone within the business.
5. Consider activities and events to raise awareness.
From attending a live or virtual Pride parade, to doing some charity fundraising, there are lots of ways to get involved. Employee groups could host a pride month reading club or a pride movie party.
Striving for equality
These are just a few small ways that we can help create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ individuals and demonstrate our solidarity with this community. Through enacting these small changes, we can all work to make the world a more equal and fairer place for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual identity.
*This article was originally written for our Benefex OneHub platform, as part of a Pride series, but we wanted to share it with our wider audience of customers and HR and reward leaders.