LGBTx student considerations going into the workplace
Although acceptance and inclusion have improved dramatically in recent years, discrimination against the LGBTx community is still a very real problem. When compared to other demographics, the LGBTx community has one of the highest instances of discrimination. As someone who is preparing to enter the workforce, it’s important to know of the biases you might face and how to best address them.
The UCLA’s William’s Institute is a think tank that conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Their research shows that 21% of LGBTx employees have been treated unfairly in the workplace. Their identity as LGBTx has affected their employer’s hiring, compensation, or promotion decisions. It’s important to note that transgendered employees are especially susceptible to harassment or mistreatment at work. Examples of common issues that LGBTx employees encounter are:
Discrimination in job interviews, performance reviews, and promotion opportunities.
An inability to be themselves. Many LBGT employees prefer not to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity. They fear that colleagues will not accept them or that they will be passed over for advancement opportunities.
A lack of job tenure. When an LGBTx employee feels unwelcome at work, they will seek employment elsewhere. This can present major issues for their career progression.
Feeling a sense of comfort and belonging at work is important to all employees, including those that are LGBTx. So, as an LGBTx person, how can you assess whether your colleagues will accept you?
If there are other LGBTx employees, speak with them. Grabbing a coffee with an LGBTx colleague is a good way to start an informal conversation and get an honest opinion about the workplace culture.
You can also look at your workplace’s HR policies for clues. If your organization promotes diversity and inclusion, has an LGBTx resource group, and enforces strict anti-discrimination policies, it’s a positive indicator.
If your workplace is accepting towards LGBTx employees, how can you best deal with discriminatory comments? Despite how inclusive your organization may be, there are always a few bad apples that you’ll need to know how to handle.
The best first step is to speak to the person directly. You don’t necessarily have to tell them that you’re LGBTx, but they should know that their comments make you uncomfortable. In many situations, this conversation is enough to change their behaviour.
If the comments persist, the next step is to speak with a manager you trust or a person in HR. In order for this to resolve the issue, the organization has to support you. If the company is not supportive of LGBTx employees, your best option may be to seek employment somewhere more tolerant.
Always remember that you’ll be happier at a workplace that accepts you for who you are. Bringing your whole self to work allows you to form stronger relationships and this will result in higher engagement and performance.