A lot actually.
June is Pride month.
June was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots which effectively kicked off the LGBTQ rights movement.
We have come a long way since then, but the fight is far from over and recent global events suggest now more than ever we need to remember that everyone deserves equal rights and the workplace should reflect the true diversity of the human race.
Just what does the modern workplace look like? Is it diverse and inclusive?
While many organizations pay lip service to Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, in the real world the evidence tells a somewhat different story.
- In 2016 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recovered $4.4 million for LGBT individuals who filed sex discrimination charges. That’s doubled since 2014.
- The Pentagon declined to acknowledge LGBTQ Pride Month for the first time since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy during the Obama administration.
- The current administration rescinded nonbinding Obama-era guidance that told K-12 schools that receive federal funding that trans students are protected under federal civil rights law and, therefore, schools should respect trans students’ rights, including their right to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.
- Here in the U.S., 30 states still do not protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in the workplace or housing, and 36 states have no laws protecting LGBTQ students from bullying in schools.
- Hate crimes against LGBT people have been on the rise in recent years, with transgender people more prone to physical assault or murder because of their gender identity.
- Death by suicide is one of the leading causes of death for LGBTQ people.
So while there has been progress, we still need to keep pushing, keep raising awareness.
Twenty percent of Millennials identify as LGBTQ. We know when people make a connection to the learning it sticks, making it essential that corporate training mirror and resonate with all learners.
Skillsoft’s job is to educate and make sure that the training we deliver is impactful, relevant and progressive. So when we recently refreshed all our compliance training, we made sure to reflect this mission and chose a transgender actor to represent the character of Bobbi, who is experiencing sexual harassment and retaliation.
This is only the beginning. We will continue to enhance and expand our training material to ensure no one gets left out. Earlier this year my colleague Norm Ford discussed how SB 396, by making it mandatory that California employers post a ‘Transgender Rights in the Workplace’, is drawing attention to the issue of sexual identity and raising awareness about what for many is a complex and often misunderstood issue.
Discussion and conversation around LGBTQ rights are therefore imperative and will go a long way towards improving living and working conditions for all.
Sometimes just breaking down the barriers and actually meeting people from the LGBTQ community is all it takes. Not convinced?
Watch this fantastic advert which Heineken released last year – it got six strangers with very opposing views to build something together, get to know each other – before they know about their differences. It’s wonderful.
Happy Pride Month.
Tara O’Sullivan is the Chief Marketing Officer and Executive sponsor of the Women in Action Programme at Skillsoft.