D&I attraction strategies beyond LGBT+ History Month

Feb 21, 2022 | Diversity

As LGBT+ History Month comes to a close, Steve Keith at The Branding Man explains how LGBTQ+ engagement becomes more meaningful if delivered as part of attraction strategies throughout the year.

This summer the LGBTQ+ community will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride protest in a UK city – a parade in 1972, which moved from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in London.

Whilst some progress in equality has been achieved over the last five decades, with visibility of the many issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community increasing in film, on television and streaming services, in 2022 the UK is still far behind more progressive countries that have banned conversion therapy and discrimination against transgender folk.

That’s why LGBT+ History Month, celebrated every February, should be an important part of every early career diversity and inclusion (D&I) attraction strategy. However, we also need to ensure engagement throughout the year.

Targeted support for young LGBTQ+ people

Reports published by LGBTQ+ charities in the last 18 months highlight some important focuses for attention by schools, universities, and student employers:

  • In the past 12 months, nearly half (47%) of LGBTQ+ Black people and people of colour surveyed had been insulted, pestered, intimidated, or harassed in person – 56% felt this was racially motivated; 47% due to their sexuality.
  • In the same ‘We Will Be Heard’ survey, conducted by UK Black Pride, over 85% of respondents had attended an LGBTQ+ space near them, and before Covid over half had attended at least once per month – 46% said that a sense of community and seeing the community thrive brought them joy.
  • In the ‘Growing up LGBT+’ report published by Just Like Us, 68% of young LGBTQ+ people said their mental health had ‘got worse’ since the pandemic, compared to 49% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers – 48% of pupils have had little to zero positive messaging about being LGBTQ+ at school in the last 12 months which was felt to contribute towards this.
  • LGBTQ+ pupils also feel less safe at school – only 58% of them have felt safe at school daily in the past 12 months (compared to 73% of non-LGBTQ+ pupils) and only one in three were aware of a clear process for reporting anti-LGBTQ+ bullying in their school.
  • Rates of education about LGBTQ+ identities and relationships in surveyed schools was low – only one fifth (20%) of secondary school students report learning about identities and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying at school, as found in the ‘Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion’ report from Diversity Role Models.


Meaningful engagement beyond LGBT+ History Month

Research shared by Gay Times & Kamarama has found that much of the LGBTQ+ community feel they are under-represented by brands. The majority (84%) called for more from them and 32% are interested in seeing more engagement outside periods of ‘peak interest’ such as LGBT+ History Month and Pride.

It’s therefore critical that engagement with young LGBTQ+ people become more meaningful and delivered as part of attraction strategies throughout the year.

Suggested ways to achieve this could include:

  • Investment in work already being done in schools by charities developing LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculums and education. Diversity Role Models offers opportunities for experienced professionals to share their ‘coming out’ stories in schools, and Just Like Us the same for apprentices and graduates to become part of their ambassador programme.
  • Sharing examples of the policies and procedures in place that create LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces. This could include examples of training and support on offer for employees to help them gain confidence in identifying, challenging, and reporting discriminatory behaviours.
  • Ensuring D&I commitment statements on job adverts and descriptions include reference to, and actions taken towards supporting, LGBTQ+ people.
  • Sharing and celebrating the stories of positive LGBTQ+ role models across your organisation to showcase how workplace culture embraces sexuality to ensure it does not become a barrier to a successful career.
  • Enter the The Queer Student Awards. Entries close Friday 8 April, they offer an opportunity to demonstrate support and commitment to positively addressing the adversity queer youths’ experience every day and their transition into the workplace.

 ISE’s Development Conference on 30 and 31 March provides more insight and best practice on supporting under represented groups at work as well as creating a culture of inclusion and belonging.

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