Diversity Pays Off

Today is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Unfortunately, that is still necessary.

In Britain, according to Stonewall “nearly one in five lesbian and gay people, almost 350,000 employees in Britain, have experienced bullying from their colleagues because of their sexual orientation.” Other numbers coming from Australia say that 52.8% of the participants of the servey “have been the subject of harassment or discrimination in their current employment. ” Now these’s are definitely not the most homophobic countries in the world which means we have a problem here.

That is why this year’s campaign of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia focuses on the workplace where discrimination against lgbtqi still exists on a large scale. Imagine, not being able to mention your partner to your colleagues, not brining him or her to the events and most of all not being yourself and constantly scared of verbal and physical attacks and discrimination. The campaign sponsered by the Fondation Émergence, however, does not focus on these issues but rather tries to “point out the positive aspects of sexual diversity in the workplace as well as its benefits for employers, companies, institutions and workers alike.How is that? Besides the general truth that an accepting and tolerant atmosphere is good for creativity  research also “shows that homophobia in the workplace can lead to lower productivity, undermine people in sexual minority groups and impede their full potential at work.

Integration is the key – at least until our societies are ready to have found a balance of living together with mutual understanding and esteem. Until then: “A positive work environment happens through positive attitudes. The worst enemy is still indifference. Saying nothing, seeing nothing and doing nothing. This indifference usually comes when people are uncomfortable with the sexual orientation of workers and it prevents closer relationships and full integration.”

May 17 is not just a random day. “It is a symbolic date. On May 17, 1990 the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses.” Only in 1990 you think? That is why homophobia is still stronger than you and I can imagine. The Inernational Day against Homophobia and Transphobia was born in Quebec in 2003. So this is already the 10th edition. Every year has been dedicated to a different topic. In 2007 for example “Sexual orientation is not a choice” and in 2010 “Speaking about Silence – Homophobia in the Sports World”. This year promotes diversity at the workplace, how about yours? Today is your chance to play your part: get to know your lgbtqi workmates and stand up against homophobia.


6 thoughts on “Diversity Pays Off

  1. It is ironic that in an age that boasts equality that so much discrimination exists. Not just based on sexuality, but age, sexual identification, gender, and race. It is not until every person in every land has equal rights that we can boast equality and move forward.

    • I agree there are so many levels, they speak of “double-glass ceiling” (maybe a future post?!) when a women happens to be lesbian…now add that she is an immigrant and her possibilities are very low… there is still so much which has to happen!

  2. The biggest problem is that this sort of discrimination is very hard to eliminate. Because homosexuality and trans genderism is predominately an issue about sexuality in most peoples minds, its immediately shoved into the “Taboo” basket with a lid shoved on top and someone sat on top of it so it doesn’t get out and “scare the kiddies”. Before we can stop discrimination, we have to bring it out and make it mainstream. Its still cloaked in mystery at the moment and as many gay and trans gender people feel too afraid to be themselves with others (because of this issue precisely) it becomes a massive inverted never ending spiral into oblivion. We know that someone is coloured because we can see it…we don’t necessarily know that someone is gay because it isn’t right there in our face. We don’t have to confront it in ourselves and therefore its easier to ignore.

    In a perfect world, we would all be able to be ourselves and be accepted for it, but this isn’t a perfect world. We get picked on for being too fat…too thin…black…coloured…gay and the more “different” we are, the more likely we are to be picked on for it. Mainstream society don’t like anyone who is different because it scares the hell out of them! What we need is to bring homosexuality out of the closet (sorry…I couldn’t resist 😉 ) and stop acting like we have to spell it out over the top of our kids heads…its real…its ancient…its not going away and so we should stop trying to pretend its going on in an alternate dimension! Making it mainstream and “normal” will go part of the way to reducing the stigma of being gay or trans gender and ensuring that its all backed up with a decent set of laws against this discrimination will help.

    • I fully agree…and I guess there are two parts here: those stepping out of the closet and those waiting for them out there, both are equally important.

  3. Ok…you got me Rahel…I have been sitting here for AGES trying to work out what word you are trying to say in this sentance…

    “That is why this year’s campaign of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia focuses on the workplace where discrimination against lgbtqi still exists on a large scale.”

    I don’t know whether to be alarmed about lgbtqi or scared of it…let me know so I can put on my tinfoil hat 😉

    • hahahah it’s good your asking… lgtbqi is the version of lgbt trying to include everyone, it stands for: lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, queer/questioning and interesex. I hope that helps you out 🙂 I’m sure you’re not the only one wondering about that one, I better add a link to it.

      OH btw… I just realized that I was far from being up to date: now they add an “a” to the end for asexual as well… lgbtqia, it’s nearly a word again 😉

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