Category : Media

New guidelines launched to promote the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport

Originally published by Sport Australia, 13 June 2019

 

Sport and human rights leaders are encouraging all Australians to “stand for inclusivity”, launching new guidelines that promote the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.

National Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport were launched in Melbourne today. The Guidelines were developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with Sport Australia and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS).

The Guidelines provide information on the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and guidance on creating and promoting inclusive environments in sport. Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said the simplest approach was to “put people first”.

“Sport must be safe and inclusive for all because every Australian has the fundamental right to enjoy the wonderful benefits of sport and physical activity,” Palmer said. “Sport Australia stands for inclusivity and we want every person in Australian sport to stand with us.

“Research tells us gender diverse people, particularly young people, want to engage more in sport and physical activity but often face or fear peer rejection. Let’s ensure sport is a welcoming place that helps. Let sport be an example for broader society, showing how we can positively influence community connections and a better future.

“It must take strong, proactive leadership to stand up against any attitudes or behaviours that lead to discrimination in sport, so I urge every sporting organisation to use this resource as a guide to make your sport more inclusive. But it’s not just up to our sport leaders, every single person involved in Australian sport can play an important part in being more inclusive.”

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said the Australian Human Rights Commission consulted with a broad range of sporting stakeholders, including transgender and gender diverse participants across a variety of sports and competition levels to develop the guidelines.

“Unfortunately transgender and gender diverse people are sometimes excluded from sport or experience discrimination and sexual harassment when they do participate,” Jenkins said.

“While some reported positive experiences of inclusion, others described how they had been excluded from the sports they loved because of their sex or gender identity. Some spoke of disengaging from sport during their transition journey because of their concern about how their team mates would treat them.

“I look forward to sporting organisations using these Guidelines to take steps to encourage the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in their sport.”

COMPPS represents some of Australia’s biggest sports, including 9 million participants and 16,000 clubs. COMPPS spokesperson Craig Tiley urged all sports to engage with the guidelines.

“We are proud to be involved in the development of these guidelines, but these are just words on pages until we, as sport leaders, implement them and bring them to life,” Tiley said.

“As custodians for our sports, we all need to embrace and promote the importance of diversity and inclusion so that sport better represents individuals, communities and Australia as a whole.”

Representing LGBTI sport charity, Proud 2 Play, outreach manager and sporting participant Bowie Stover says the Guidelines are a positive step towards the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in the wider sporting community.

“As a non-binary athlete and having worked with numerous sporting clubs and codes over the past few years, I’ve experienced first-hand the many positive outcomes that occur when clubs actively show support for their trans and gender diverse participants,” Stover said.

“It benefits not only the trans and gender diverse community involved as players, volunteers and spectators, but also helps the clubs and all sports as whole, in creating a diverse and safe sporting environment for everybody.

“I encourage sporting clubs and bodies to adopt these guidelines in order to help ensure trans and gender diverse inclusion in their sports is proactive and that everyone is supported when joining their clubs, regardless of their sex or gender identity.”

The Guidelines can be accessed at: www.sportaus.gov.au/transgender

Running shoes in bright colours

About us

Sport Australia is the Australian Government’s lead agency for sport and physical activity. Our vision is for Australia to be the world’s most active sporting nation, known for its integrity, sporting success and world-leading sport industry.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation, established by an act of Federal Parliament. It is Australia’s national human rights institution. We protect and promote human rights in Australia and internationally.

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) comprises Australian Football league, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, National Rugby League, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia and Tennis Australia. The role of COMPPS is to provide a collective response on behalf of its member sports where their interests are aligned.

Uniting is the highest ranking LGBTI service provider

Originally published by Uniting, 27 May 2019

 

Uniting continues to build on its recognition of commitment to inclusivity and celebration of the LGBTI community. Uniting won the inaugural service provider of the year in the Health and Wellbeing Equity Index (HWEI) and retained gold employer status at the 2019 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) awards.

The annual Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) awards are a rigorous, evidence-based benchmarking tool that assesses workplaces in the progress and impact of their LGBTI inclusion initiatives.

The HWEI award which featured for the first time this year, recognises organisations for their LGBTI inclusive service delivery in the Health and Wellbeing industry while the gold employer award is an acknowledgement of exemplary achievement in workplace LGBTI inclusion. Uniting was recognised for its effort in these spaces across the ageing, disability, homelessness, early learning and family services sectors.

“Both these awards are an acknowledgment once again for our work in maintaining and strengthening our commitment to LGBTI advocacy and inclusion for our staff and our service users,” said Uniting Director Customer, People and Systems, Jill Reich.

“Being an inclusive workplace and service provider is beneficial for everybody; it enriches and energises our community and is reflective of the wider society we live in. We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of LGBTI inclusion for not only our staff but also for those people that we serve,” said Jill Reich.

Participation in the AWEI index has seen continued growth for the 8th year in a row, since its launch in 2010 with a 14.7 percent increase by organisations in 2019.

“The nature and focus of LGBTI inclusion is constantly evolving and Uniting strives to expand the scope of our ongoing efforts in creating a more diverse and productive workplace so that all our staff, volunteers and clients in our services feel included and supported,” said Jill Reich.

In addition to being the only faith based organisation to win the AWEI and HWEI awards, Uniting was also the first faith-based organisation in Australia to be recognised as LGBTI friendly and received the Rainbow Tick accreditation in 2015 for aged care and corporate services. In 2018 Uniting was also re-accredited for ageing corporate War Memorial and Local Area Coordination services.

Tennis Australia named one of Australia’s most LGBTIQ+ inclusive sporting organisations

Originally published by Star Observer , 13 June 2019

 

Tennis Australia has been named one of Australia’s best sporting organisations for LGBTIQ+ inclusion at the recent Pride in Sport Awards in Melbourne.

The awards, which recognise exceptional efforts in making sport more inclusive for LGBTIQ+ people, were launched last year and are the first of their kind in Australia.

This year, the top award was given to both Tennis Australia and Melbourne University Sport. Cricket Victoria was recognised as the Highest Ranking State Sporting Organisation, while the St Kilda Football Club took home the award for the Highest Ranking Professional Club.

The awards showcase the result of the Pride in Sport Index (PSI), a national benchmarking instrument used to assess LGBTIQ+ inclusion within Australian sport.

ACON Vice-President and Co-Founder of the PSI, Andrew Purchas, said the past year had highlighted the continued struggles facing LGBTIQ+ people in sport.

“These awards and the index continue to highlight the important inclusion work being done by many within Australian sport, as they provide sporting organisations and figures with an opportunity to reflect on their work in the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ participants and staff, and identify areas they can address to ensure their sport is truly inclusive,” he said.

“Many of Australia’s sporting organisations are taking the positive steps needed to be taken to ensure your sexuality, gender identity and experience does not impact your ability to play, watch or be involved with sport at any level.

“I congratulate all the award recipients and the many others working towards making Australian sport an inclusive place for everyone and I’m proud to celebrate those success stories at the Pride in Sport Awards today.”

The awards were hosted by NITV presenter and former Star Observer cover star Matty Webb, and featured a host of leading and sporting community figures, including a keynote address from Matt Cecchin, the first openly gay NRL referee.

This year’s PSI results saw a 61 per cent increase in index submissions, highlighting the focus sporting groups are beginning to put on LGBTIQ+ inclusion.

Award nominations from the wider community also rose by 70 per cent.

Program Manager for Pride in Sport, Beau Newell, said the index had continued to see a significant shift in practice with LGBTIQ+ inclusion work in Australian sport.

“With a wide range of sporting organisations participating, we are seeing more and more commitments to providing safer and more inclusive environments and experiences for LGBTIQ+ people,” he said.

“While inclusion has well and truly made its way onto the Australian workplace diversity and inclusion agenda, there is more to be done to ensure that sport in Australia can experience greater levels of LGBTIQ+ inclusion.”

The awards were produced by Pride in Sport, the national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program spearheaded by Australia’s largest LGBTIQ+ health organisation ACON.

See a full list of this year’s winners below.

Award Recipient
Highest Ranking Overall Melbourne University Sport and Tennis Australia
Highest Ranking State Sporting Organisation Cricket Victoria
Highest Ranking Professional Club St Kilda Football Club
LGBTI Ally Award David Kyle, North Gippsland Football & Netball League
LGBTI Inclusive Coach Aaron Lucas, Sydney Roller Derby League
LGBTI Community Sport Perth Pythons LGBTI+ Hockey Club
LGBTI Out Role Model Tony Boutoubia (Tennis)
LGBTI Inclusion Initiative LGBTIQA+ Women’s Water Polo Program (Sydney Stingers Water Polo)
Small Club Award Loton Park Tennis Club

© Star Observer 2019 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Microsoft celebrates Pride, takes action for equity and visibility

 |   Chris Capossela – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

 

Fifty years ago, on June 28, LGBTQI+ patrons and allies at New York City’s Stonewall Inn stood up for justice demanding an equal life free of persecution. This year, as more than 4,000 Microsoft employees march in Pride parades in more than 60 cities and 30 countries around the world, we invite you to join us in pushing inclusion forward.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, we’re taking action for equity by donating to LGBTQI+ nonprofits. Plus, we’re releasing limited-edition products designed with and by the LGBTQI+ community.

 

YouTube Video

 

Microsoft has a history of LGBTQI+ inclusion

For us, Pride is an opportunity to reflect on our past and galvanize for action. We started our inclusion journey early in the company’s history, introducing sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies in 1989. In 1993, we were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In 2004, we added gender identity to our Equal Employment Opportunity statement and started providing gender affirming healthcare services. Since 2005, Microsoft has attained a top  score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which indicates that Microsoft is establishing and applying policies to protect the LGBTQI+ community.

Our journey is just beginning

Today, Microsoft operates in over 120 countries, most of which still don’t provide legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. This year, Microsoft’s Pride campaign is all about the actions that our employees and customers are taking to advance inclusion. GLEAM (Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft), our LGBTQI+ resource group, worked with many of our teams to develop products to create visibility into the LGBTQI+ community.

In designing this year’s Pride campaign, LGBTQI+ designers and allies at Microsoft reflected on the LGBTQI+ rights movement of the 1970s. Dozens of LGBTQI+ community members and their allies submitted designs for campaign buttons displaying everything from personal statements to political slogans. These buttons reflect actions that people at Microsoft are taking and are encouraging others to take.

Microsoft is releasing all the button designs as a downloadable archive so everyone can use them, add to them and share their Pride with everyone, wherever they are.

Several Pride-related buttons

For the first time, we’ve also created limited-edition products and curated content to show our continued support for the LGBTQI+ community.

  • Surface – Inspired by the rich and varied tapestry of the LGBTQI+ community, make a more colorful impact with the limited-edition Surface Pro Pride Type Cover and Pride Skin available in the US, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. (only Type Cover).

YouTube Video

  • Windows PrideWindows – This Windows 10 special-edition theme was inspired by the many LGBTQI+ flags. Download the Windows Pride theme pack from the Microsoft Store.
  • Mixer – Discover Pride on Mixer with dedicated streams from select partners, unique stickers, and exclusive programs. Tune in on June 30th to live stream the Seattle Pride Parade!
  • Bing – Learn more about Stonewall on Bing with uniquely curated content featuring LGBTQI+ Bing Prideactivismdating back to 1969 with this quiz. And see Pride take over the Bing homepage in select countries around the world.
  • Office – Show your Pride colors with the exclusive Office theme and unique Pride templates for PowerPoint.
  • Skype – Celebrate Pride with Skype’s new LGBTQI+ flag emoticons, stickers, and more.
  • Xbox – Show your colors and celebrate your love of gaming with the Xbox Pride Sphere Pin available at xbox.com.Xbox Pride
  • Microsoft Rewards – Support LGBTQI+ youth in crisis by donating to The Trevor Project in June, and we’ll match it. Not a Microsoft Rewards member? Join today and we’ll give you $1 free to donate.
  • Microsoft Store – Visit your local Microsoft Store to take part in a Pride celebration, march with us, or learn more at educational workshops, events, and other activities.

Actions speak louder than words!

We’re donating $100,000 to the following nonprofits in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States to celebrate and support their work on LGBTQI+ equity:

  • Established in 1985, ACON is Australia’s largest health promotion organization specializing in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTQ health.
  • Egale works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues. They do this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion.
  • Mermaids is the only U.K.-wide charity working to support transgender or gender non-conforming children, young people, and their families. Their goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. Mermaids promotes education and awareness, and offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences to those in need.
  •  The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people under 25.

We’re also happy to announce that LGBTQI+ nonprofit, Destination Tomorrow, was awarded a grant from the Microsoft Store to support their inclusion efforts for people of color. See what happened when we took action to help them thrive.

YouTube Video

We invite everyone to join us in taking action for equality. Microsoft Pride 2019 products launch today! Follow along with our stories all month and learn more about actions you can take for equality by joining the social conversation using #MicrosoftPride.

New benchmarking tool to assess LGBTI inclusion amongst health and wellbeing providers launches

A new benchmarking tool launched by leading LGBTI inclusion initiative, Pride Inclusion Programs, now provides health and wellbeing organisations the opportunity to assess, measure and improve their practices to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in their services.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index is Australia’s first instrument to annually benchmark LGBTI inclusive service provision amongst organisations in the health, human services and wellbeing sectors. The index is administered by Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. Pride in Health + Wellbeing is part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives delivered by Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be an important resource for health and wellbeing service providers across Australia.

“With significant health disparities between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people and issues many LGBTI people experience in accessing important and critical health services such as perceived or previously experienced stigma, discrimination, harassment or refusal of service, this index is an instrumental tool for service providers as they seek to be more inclusive of all Australians,” Mr Parkhill said.

“We are proud to announce the launch of this index, which builds on ACON’s decades-long experience in LGBTI health and wellbeing. This instrument, in addition to our Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program, will provide a much-needed resource for those seeking to ensure full inclusivity of LGBTI people within the services and programs that they offer and will assist providers in working towards the Rainbow Tick accreditation if that is their ultimate goal,” Mr Parkhill said.

Participation will give service providers clear guidelines on getting started or on progressing their work in LGBTI inclusive service provision, as well as an opportunity to survey both staff and service users regardless of how they identify going forward.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index builds on from Pride Inclusion Programs’ benchmarking instruments, the Pride in Sport Index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, said just as the AWEI has been instrumental in shifting practices in LGBTI inclusion in workplaces across Australia, the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be critical in improving health and wellbeing service provision.

“The feedback provided as a result of participation will allow health and wellbeing providers to not only focus their inclusion work in areas of good practice, but also determine annually what they need to do to improve,” Ms Hough said.

“As index participation grows, the benchmarking data will provide a valuable reference in terms of current best practice as well as both qualitative and quantitative data to show improvements in their service provision.”

Participants to the index do not need to be a member of the Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program to take part. Submissions can be made online and close Friday 8 March 5pm.

ASSUMPTIONS, INTRUSIVE QUESTIONS, AND BI-VISIBILITY

There is growing evidence that more support is needed for bisexual people within Australian workplaces. 2018 saw the release of a number of workplace research studies which have highlighted the perceptions and impacts of being visible, or “out” for bisexual people.

The 2018 Out at Work report produced by RMIT, the Diversity Council of Australia and Star Observer, clearly demonstrated that most LGBTI people are still not entirely out within their workplace, and the importance of visible role models. The study also clearly demonstrated significant gaps in perceptions for bisexual workers, with only 25% of bisexual people feeling being out was important, compared to 57% of lesbian and 47% of gay workers. The primary reason given by bisexual people for not being out was that “Colleagues would feel uncomfortable around me”, which was cited by 41% of bisexual participants in the study.

Over the last few years, it has become accepted wisdom within HR departments that an inclusive workplace culture is necessary to allow people to achieve their best and be most productive. Unfortunately, that accepted wisdom is not yet translating into an inclusive reality for everyone.

The 2018 Australian Workplace Equality Index produced by Pride in Diversity, looked at the issue of whether an LGBTI inclusive culture is actually perceived as being important to LGBTI employees. The results of the study revealed striking differences in the perception of the workplace inclusion programs. When asked how important an LGBTI inclusive workplace culture is, the percentage of intersex people (62%) and bisexual males (65%) viewing it as important was far lower than the results for lesbians (88%) or bisexual females (81%).

A recent panel session at the 2018 Pride in Practice conference in Melbourne delved into issues facing bisexual people in their careers. Panellists included William Lewis from ANZ Bank, Ellie Watts from QBE Insurance, Alix Sampson from AGL, and Ashleigh Sternes from Pride in Diversity.

According to Ellie Watts, she didn’t have a big dramatic personal coming out story with her own family, but acknowledged it was a battle for her to initially figure out her bisexuality.  She described the relief she felt when she came out to her parents, and that her parents were quite accepting and relaxed, and a little confused about how emotionally difficult coming out was for her.

While coming out to her family was a relief, it didn’t mean that Watts felt any urgency or need to come out at work. It wasn’t until some years later when she joined QBE, and learnt about QBE’s Pride group on her first day at work, that she started to consider coming out at work. Watts reflected, “For me it was a process over time, testing the water. It was helped by the fact that I have a gay manager.”

One of the key issues raised by the panellists were the frequent intrusive and inappropriate questions they had faced from work colleagues, and they offered some examples, including:

  • What percentage Bi are you?
  • Have you ever slept with a girl/guy?
  • How many threesomes have you had?
  • When will you make up your mind?
  • Is this something you will grow out of?

Another concern expressed was the lack of bisexual people visible in wider society and pop culture. The observation was made that bisexual characters in film and TV are routinely “erased” as bisexual, and instead described as gay or lesbian, which makes it hard to find role models.

Watts also explained that she felt that being in a relationship placed additional pressures on her decision to come out at work. She outlined how being in a relationship creates more workplace questions, and the need to constantly explain her family situation. “You are always preparing yourself for the stereotypes and the comments that will follow afterwards. It is exhausting to keep educating people.”

People who are looking to be allies to bisexual colleagues should simply accept bisexual identities when they are disclosed, avoid making assumptions, and be mindful of language.

 

[Sebastian Rice – December 18, 2018 – Star Observer]

Deakin University becoming LGBTIQ+ leader offering paid gender transition leave

DEAKIN University will be the first Australian university to launch paid leave to support staff undergoing a gender transition.

The new policy will be announced to the university’s 4700 staff today.

Chief operating officer Kean Selway said Deakin considered staff diversity as a great strength and a valued asset to its community.

“Deakin is committed to diversity in the higher education sector and we recognise the rights of our LGBTIQ+ staff to live and work free of prejudice and discrimination, with all the essential freedoms enjoyed by other members of our university community and the broader population,” Mr Selway said.

“A gender transition usually includes social, medical and legal aspects and staff have told us that this can be a particularly difficult and challenging time.

“That’s why Deakin is now the first university in Australia to provide up to 10 days paid leave to support staff undergoing a gender transition.

“Under Deakin’s existing leave provisions, all staff experiencing exceptionally difficult personal circumstances can, with the support of management, apply for ‘special leave’ directly to the Vice-Chancellor.”

Mr Selway said that until now, that was the only option for people undergoing a gender transition, and that Deakin recognised the need for a specific leave entitlement.

“The paid leave is backed by a new gender transition policy which provides security and clarity around the process for Deakin staff who are undergoing a gender transition,” Mr Selway said.

“Fostering a genuinely inclusive environment affords all our staff and students a sense of belonging and an equal chance of success whether it be through study or work.”

The policy is considered a significant step forward in Deakin’s ambition to be a leading LGBTIQ+ inclusive educator and employer.

Deakin developed the policy with input from Transgender Victoria, Trans-Medical Research from the University of Melbourne and Pride in Diversity — a national not-for-profit employer support program.

Deakin launched its LGBTIQ+ 2017-2020 Plan last year.

 

[Source: Geelong Advertiser, 24 October 2018]

Putting the ‘T’ into LGBTI workplace inclusion

In a post-marriage equality world, there is a high risk that active support for LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives will decline, writes Dentons’ Ben Allen and Emily Hall.

This much was made obvious in the Australian Workplace Equality Index’s 2018 Employee Survey Analysis, which found that 27 per cent of non-LGBTI respondents thought inclusion was no longer an issue after marriage equality. In contrast, only 9 per cent of LGBTI respondents felt the same. This trend seems to be matched by the survey’s other finding that in 2018, 82 per cent of non-LGBTI respondents identified that workplace inclusion was important, a drop from 92 per cent in 2017.

This thinking reveals an all too common trend in LGBTI workplace inclusion, being a focus predominantly – or exclusively – on the first three letters of the acronym and forgetting the rest

AWEI’s 2018 survey revealed some alarming figures about transgender and gender diverse inclusion in the workplace. Fewer than 66 per cent gender diverse respondents stated they felt fully supported at work, which was considerably lower than the response from lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents. Further, 14 per cent of gender diverse respondents stated they did not feel supported at work.

It’s unsurprising that transgender and gender diverse employees feel less supported at work than their lesbian, gay and bisexual peers, given that the survey results showed that gender diverse respondents were more than twice as likely to witness negative attitudes or commentary in the workplace. This is in addition to gender diverse employees experiencing a higher rate of bullying or harassment in the workplace than their lesbian, gay or bisexual peers.

Plus, more than half of gender diverse respondents did not believe that LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives benefited them.

Of course, what happens in the workplace is intrinsically related to what happens at home. Making sure workplaces are safe and supportive environments is crucial given transgender individuals are three times more likely to experience ill mental health, and nearly 11 times more likely to attempt suicide, than the general population.

In light of these statistics, it is clear that while we may have made some progress on supporting same-sex attracted employees in the workplace, there is still a long way for us to go on the rainbow.

To be part of the positive change required, businesses need to make a concentrated effort to expand the scope of their LGBTI inclusion initiatives.

So what can businesses do to be more inclusive of their transgender and gender diverse employees?

  • Have policies specifically for transgender employees. This will provide security around the process of transitioning at work, and reinforce the message that complaints about bullying and harassment will be taken seriously.
  • Make sure that your support for transgender and gender diverse employees is publicly known. Having a clearly available public statement regarding transgender and gender diverse individuals will help ease the moderate to very high anxiety that over a quarter of transgender and gender diverse respondents reported experiencing during recruitment processes in the AWEI 2018 survey.
  • Provide adequate support services for transgender employees. This could include freely available counselling, and dedicated training or mentorship programs. Not only is this positive for inclusion, but it will also boost staff retention.
  • Provide targeted training for all employees. Raising awareness and understanding among non-LGBTI employees is crucial to reducing the rates of bullying, harassment and negative commentary currently occurring in the workplace. Ask for help! There are a number of community organisations that can provide specialist assistance when it comes to transgender and gender diverse workplace inclusion, including Pride in Diversity.

The time is now for us to make it to the other side of the rainbow.

 

Ben Allen is a partner at Dentons, and Emily Hall is a graduate lawyer.

 

[Click here for source/article]

The double-glazed ceiling: the struggle for queer women in the workplace

Three-quarters of same-sex attracted women said stereotypes like “butch”, “man-hater”, and “aggressive” negatively impacted them and were the biggest barriers to being out at work.

One third of same-sex attracted women are uncomfortable being out in the workplace, and many are fearful of being associated with harmful stereotypes, according to new research by PwC and Pride in Diversity.

The Where are all the Women? survey asked 1,270 same-sex attracted women in Australia about their experiences around workplace inclusion, one of the largest studies of its kind ever undertaken.

Of the respondents, two-thirds said they were comfortable being out to most or all of the people they work with, while 29 per cent believed being same-sex attracted would inhibit their career progression, and one in five women said they had left a job when they were younger because it wasn’t inclusive.

PwC manager and lead researcher, Kate Marks, says a sense of belonging and connection seems to be missing for same-sex attracted women in the workplace.

“It’s not due to one, overarching thing,” she says.

“It’s a slow, cumulative effect from things like day-to-day comments, a lack of role models, and a double-glazed glass ceiling to break through.”

She adds that the focus for many workplaces has been gender equality for such a long time, that sexuality has been left by the wayside.

“When we asked which was important—gender or sexuality—most of the respondents said both are important,” she says.

“People have been talking about gender being the inhibitor for so long, that the concept of sexuality as an inhibitor is relatively new.”

The study found that damaging stereotypes play an important role in how same-sex attracted woman navigate the workplace, with three-quarters of respondents saying stereotypes like “butch”, “man-hater”, and “aggressive” negatively impacted them at work and were the biggest barriers to being out.

Roughly 81 per cent of respondents said active leadership support impacted how they felt about being out at work, and 80 per cent indicated that visible support for LGBTI inclusion was important when looking for a job.

When it came to role models, 84 per cent said they had people to look up to outside of the workplace, yet only half of respondents had role models within the workplace.

Marks says small symbols like rainbow lanyards or an ally closing down a potentially harmful conversation can make a world of difference.

“I think Pride networks play a critical role in this too,” she says.

“They are so good at connecting people, but at the moment they don’t seem to be doing the same thing for same-sex attracted women in the workplace.

“It’s about looking at that next layer of division — when you’re hosting a panel of speakers, how are you going to make sure you have diversity of thought on that panel? When you’re creating partnerships with other organisations, who are the CEOs of those organisations?”

“The impact of these things really trickle through.”

She hopes that the research will go some way towards improving the experiences of same-sex attracted women in the workplace.

“We want to make sure they stay, and feel as excited about developing their careers as anyone else,” she says.

“And we can do that by making sure workplaces have diversity of thought in small day-to-day decisions all the way through to the top.”

Matthew Wade – Star Observer

“In my twenties I was told I shouldn’t come out or my career would go nowhere”: Michael Ebeid

“Too many young people hide their sexual orientation at work, and I think that’s quite sad.”

After more than seven years at the helm of SBS, openly gay chief executive Michael Ebeid has called it quits.

During his time at the broadcasting service he has helped transform the culture by championing LGBTI inclusion and bringing in more diverse programming — including Deep Water, which focused on Sydney’s beat murders, as well as growing coverage of Mardi Gras and queer stories.

He admits that it “feels awful” to leave a job and company he truly believes in, but is excited about his new chapter with Telstra.

“We’ve supported Australians understanding each other better because of our diversity,” he says, “and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

When it comes to being a visible role model for LGBTI people entering the workforce, Ebeid says it’s been wonderful, and something he could never have imagined growing up.

As a 20-something gay man entering the workforce, he had people tell him he shouldn’t come out or else his career would go nowhere.

“I think it’s fair to say attitudes have really changed,” he says.

“All you’ve got to do is prove to your employer that you’re capable of the job, and that has to override any personal factors.

“I certainly didn’t have that when I was 20 — it’s important to show that your sexuality is one part of you, it doesn’t have to define who you are.”

Outside of SBS, Ebeid regularly talks on panels and attends events surrounding workplace diversity and inclusion.

More recently, he was announced one of the inaugural patrons of Pride in Health+Wellbeing, a landmark LGBTI inclusion initiative by ACON that provides support to organisations in the health sector in delivering LGBTI inclusive services.

He says young LGBTI people often approach him at events and tell him what it means to them to see Ebeid as an openly gay and visible executive.

“I do mentor a couple of young people in their careers and have done so for 20 years or so, which I find incredibly rewarding,” he says.

“I learn a lot from understanding what young people are going through nowadays, because in some ways it’s very different to the issues I faced.

“Too many young people hide their sexual orientation at work, and I think that’s quite sad.”

Ebeid hopes that through his time at SBS, as well as any of his future chapters, he can help to inspire and educate employers and employees alike across Australia when it comes to the importance of workplace inclusion.

He says when he was able to bring his full self to work and not worry what others thought, his career blossomed.

“For anybody who’s in the closet, know it takes a lot of energy to constantly lie or cover up your real self, and once you can redirect that energy into more creative or innovative things, life gets much better,” he says.

“Young people starting off in their careers should have confidence in themselves and really believe in themselves, because self-confidence goes a long way.

“I would also advise people to think about the organisations they’re wanting to join and to ask what kinds of LGBTI policies they have.

“It’s important to work for an organisation you feel aligned with as opposed to going somewhere were your personal values aren’t validated… life is short and we should enjoy where we go every day.”

Michael Ebeid will be appearing at the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council’s (AGMC) upcoming ‘Living and Loving in Diversity’ Conference later this month in Melbourne, which will focus on the issues faced by queer, trans, and intersex people of colour.

[Star Observer, 3 Sept 2018]