What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
We understand that people don’t fit into boxes, or acronyms, but LGBTQIA+ is a commonly used abbreviation for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
What does it mean to be LGBTQIA+?
Just like no two people are alike, no two people who identify as LGBTQIA+ will have the same experiences. They may not necessarily identify with stereotyped or commonly assumed perceptions of what being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community looks or feels like.
Anyone can belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, and we shouldn’t make assumptions about gender or sexual identity. We strongly support an individual’s right to choose whether or not to share their gender or sexual identity with their workplace.
We take an intersectional approach to LGBTQIA+ issues, as intertwined social and political identities such as race, religion, or nationality can have a huge impact on a person’s experience. You can find out more about intersectionality in the resources below.
- Very Well Mind: The Intersection of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Identities
- UN Women: Intersectional feminism: what it means and why it matters right now
- Time: She Coined the Term ‘Intersectionality’ Over 30 Years Ago. Here’s What It Means to Her Today
Challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community
Despite individual differences, many members of the community share a unifying experience of being ‘othered’. Depending on a variety of other circumstances in their lives, we also know that LGBTQIA+ community members can face stigma, discrimination, and other unique challenges related to their sexuality or gender identity.
“Many [LGBTQIA+ community members] feel compelled to monitor their presentation of gender and sexuality constantly at work. Some disclose by choice — others involuntarily. Many must respond to intrusive questioning, being misgendered, unsolicited commentary about clothing, and other microaggressions. Many, too, face harassment and outright discrimination.”
For anyone struggling with these issues, or if you’d like to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ experience, these resources can provide a starting point:
- Mind: LGBTQIA+ mental health resources
- LGBT Foundation: Practical resources
- The Trevor Project: Supporting LGBTQ young people
- Stonewall: 15 things LGBTQ people of colour want you to know
- Pew Research Center: The global divide on acceptance
- McKinsey & Co: How the LGBTQ+ community fares in the workplace
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation: A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide
- Culture Amp: Beyond rainbow washing: Supporting LGBTQ+ at work and beyond
What’s Human Made’s stance on LGBTQIA+ issues?
We are an equal opportunities employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status.
We are committed to creating a diverse environment that every team member feels proud to be part of, and welcome applications from any people in any country across the world.
– Being yourself at work
Having zero tolerance for discrimination and bias is a given, but true inclusion goes further. Everyone should feel safe and supported in being themselves at work; after all, it’s what makes you ‘you’.
We stand proudly alongside our colleagues, friends, clients, and partners in LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate the diversity, richness, and differences that make us ‘us’.
Pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them) are words we use in everyday language to refer to ourselves or others, but they can be an important way to express gender identity.
The correct use of pronouns is really important in helping everyone feel included at work. It can reassure trans and gender non-conforming colleagues that they are welcome and included.
We can all do our bit by helping to normalise the discussion of pronouns:
- If you’re meeting someone for the first time, or you’re unsure of their pronouns, simply use their given name, or use ‘they/them’ as a gender-neutral option. It’s always best to ask which pronouns a person uses during introductions – a casual ‘sorry, I didn’t catch your pronouns’ is all it takes!
- Introduce yourself using your pronouns when meeting new people. Starting meetings this way can allow trans, non-binary, or gender nonconforming people to introduce themselves without feeling pressured to bring up the use of pronouns first.
- List your pronouns on Slack, LinkedIn, your email signature, and other platforms.
If you make a mistake with someone’s pronouns, simply apologise, correct yourself, and move on. Avoid apologising too much, as this can draw further attention to your mistake and make the situation uncomfortable.
Repeatedly and deliberately using the wrong pronouns to refer to someone creates a hostile environment and is a form of bullying or harassment, for which Human Made has a zero tolerance policy.
You can find out more about the inclusive use of pronouns in these resources:
- Stonewall: A beginner’s guide to pronouns and using pronouns in the workplace
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Talking about pronouns
- The Law Society: Using pronouns in the workplace
What should I do if I’m experiencing LGBTQIA+-related issues at work?
It can be difficult to reach out if you’re struggling or you’ve seen something that isn’t quite right, but the first thing to know is that you’re not alone.
As an employer, we take our responsibility to the LGBTQIA+ community seriously, and we’ve endeavoured to create a safe, supportive, and judgement-free environment for everyone at Human Made. Part of this responsibility means ensuring we’ll do everything we can to make sure any concerns are handled swiftly and with discretion and respect for all involved.
Human Made has a dedicated Slack channel for LGBTQIA+ issues, #inclusivity-lqbtqia, where you can find advice, help and support from your colleagues. Everyone is very welcome to join, but the channel is private in order to create a safe space – please ping Kirsty Burgoine or Gianna Legate for an invite.
If you’d rather discuss things privately, your manager, our leadership team, and/or our HR team are there to lend an ear and support you wherever possible. Reach out to Tom Chute, Leyla, or Siobhan for a one-to-one any time.
How can I support the LGBTQIA+ community at Human Made?
The first thing you should know is that you don’t need to have ‘skin in the game’ to care – we’re all humans, and trying to be kind to other humans is all it takes. Sometimes referred to as being an ‘ally’, people who don’t identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community can join in and lend their support in trying to make the world a bit better for those who do.
It can be overwhelming to think of the scale of change needed to bring about a more fair, inclusive and equitable society the world over, but the good news is that changing hearts and minds starts small.
- Consider inclusivity: the language you use matters, and it helps to bear in mind that not everyone shares the experiences you may feel are ‘normal’ to you.
- Don’t press the personal stuff: even questions as ordinary as ‘how was your weekend?’ can be loaded for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable sharing their private life at work. Pressing someone on their relationship status, family situation or other personal details isn’t necessary, and can cause real internal distress.
- Seize opportunities for improvement: if something doesn’t look or feel right, take the initiative to do something about it, or highlight it to someone who can.
- Share best practices: seen something done well or that has inspired you? Spread it around! From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks.
- Celebrate!: Pride parties might be the best-known example of celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, but it’s a 24/7-365 experience, so share the love if you hear about any positive change or good news.
- Get involved: want to help but don’t know where to start? Neither do we! Everyone’s figuring it out as we go, and all are welcome to contribute ideas, share resources, ask questions and generally help us do better tomorrow than we did yesterday.
Some useful resources that can help you learn more: