PRIDE AT WORK

IN Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Colin Druhan

Learn to fight neg­a­tive be­hav­iour safely and ef­fec­tively

Small things ev­ery­one can do to fight neg­a­tive be­hav­iour safely and ef­fec­tively

Most peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with bla­tant forms of bi­pho­bia, ho­mo­pho­bia and trans­pho­bia such as slurs, other in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage and the clas­sic “that’s so gay!” In the work­place, it’s im­por­tant to rec­og­nize anti-LGBT be­hav­iour in its sub­tler forms, like out­ing some­one with­out their per­mis­sion or gen­er­ally ex­clud­ing peo­ple be­cause of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity or gen­der ex­pres­sion. Whether ha­rass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple is overt or sub­tle, there are a few things ev­ery­one can do to com­bat this kind of be­hav­iour on the job.

Talk the talk

You may be an ex­pert on your own ex­pe­ri­ence as an LGBT per­son or ally, but don’t as­sume you know what it’s like for ev­ery­one else. Stay up to date on the ap­pro­pri­ate ways to talk about LGBT iden­ti­ties, lis­ten to the way other peo­ple want to be ad­dressed and apol­o­gize when you make mis­takes.

Know ev­ery­one’s rights

The fed­eral Hu­man Rights Act pro­tects work­ers on the grounds of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, and many pro­vin­cial hu­man rights codes specif­i­cally men­tion em­ploy­ment pro­tec­tions on the grounds of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity and gen­der ex­pres­sion. Be­come fa­mil­iar with leg­is­la­tion that pro­tects LGBT peo­ple at work in your re­gion. You should also check to see if your em­ployer has any in­ter­nal poli­cies about ha­rass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion as well as the re­port­ing process for such be­hav­iour.

Speak up

When co-work­ers make jokes, use in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage or make big gen­er­al­iza­tions about LGBT peo­ple, it’s im­por­tant to chal­lenge them. Some­times it’s as easy as ask­ing a ques­tion like “do you know why a lot of peo­ple find that word of­fen­sive?” It can be hard to chal­lenge your su­per­vi­sor or peo­ple more se­nior to you at work, so if you need help from some­one else, ask for it.

Sup­port your col­leagues

We all want to feel safe and be our­selves at work. If you want sup­port from oth­ers, it’s im­por­tant to ex­tend them the same cour­tesy. Find out if your em­ployer has a for­mal re­source group for LGBT and ally em­ploy­ees. If not, you can in­for­mally sup­port col­leagues who face bi­pho­bia, ho­mo­pho­bia and trans­pho­bia by lis­ten­ing and ask­ing them what kind of help they need from you, if any.

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