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LGBT+ problems are far from over, they’ve only just begun

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This week is National Inclusion Week – an annual opportunity to raise awareness of inclusion in the workplace.

Sky have partnered with Inclusive Employers to highlight the everyday practical ways an inclusive environment can be created in your workplace – and Sky News has asked writers from a diverse background to explain why the issue of inclusivity is important to them.

Here, writer Tim Doble looks at the topic of LGBTQ+ treatment in the workplace.

Different treatment of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace appears to be standard practice.

Not all different treatment is obnoxiously negative, though, and people forget that. If it’s not possible to sue over, the culprits decide, then it’s not really discrimination.

Even if it’s supposedly complimentary – “You can be my new gay best friend! My GBF! You’re my novelty item!” – it feels to me like how being in a zoo must feel like.

It’s having strangers gawk because you’re so exotic and strange, tapping the glass that separates you.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: A rainbow Union Jack is flown on the beach during the annual Brighton Pride Parade on August 5, 2017 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
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People can be fired for being gay or trans in 30 US states

I’ve certainly experienced mistreatment in former workplaces.

I was once a general front-of-house dogsbody (read: “verbal punching bag”) for a stuffy financial PR firm.

I received an angry email from my line manager about my trousers.

I was quite pleased with them – formal, fitted with a minimalist but interesting white design. I think it’s probably clear that they were designed for women. The problem was that I otherwise presented as male.

Someone had complained about the way I dressed and from looks I’d received, I’d suspected it was because I looked untraditional, despite always adhering to the dress code in my contract.

My manager had told me explicitly that it was “a boy-girl thing”. She wore more garish clothes than I did and I couldn’t handle the expectation that I had to suppress myself.

I went to HR to confirm that my clothes were suitable – which they were – and I quit the following day.



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I am a genderqueer person.

On forms that allow it I tick a ‘they/them’ box and even my doctor knows my title is Mx.

I generally present as male because I wasn’t ever given a choice.

Until I was in my 20s, I wasn’t told that men could wear feminine clothes, or that I didn’t have to fit into one of two strict binary boxes.

Clothes proverbially don’t make the man, which is great – by ignoring gendered clothing norms, I liberate myself.



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Being inclusive of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace isn’t just essential – it’s a fundamental human right.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, one can still be fired for being gay or trans in 30 US states – but this sort of discrimination can’t be dismissed as a US-only problem.

In the UK, there are no laws against inciting hatred on gender identity through an aggravating circumstance. Men who have sex with men still don’t have equal legal conditions to donate blood (despite all blood being tested before use) and conversion therapy is still legal.

LGBTQ+s are still excluded in workplaces. Our livelihoods are sometimes threatened.

To deny this happens – which some still do – is to deny the LGBTQ+ community even the opportunity to confront discrimination.

My story is trivial compared to many. Some lives literally end because of how LGBTQ+s are treated at work.

We claim to be a society aiming for equal treatment but it’s been 51 years since we could acknowledge our LGBTQ+ status without facing prosecution.

If anyone thinks our problems are all over, they’ve only just begun.

:: For more information, go to Inclusive Employers.

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