Last night BAME Recruitment hosted an event Better Allies: Supporting LGBTQ+ Colleagues at work.
It was an inspiring evening full of open and honest discussion from a diverse and eclectic mix of panellists that included:
Dipesh Davadra, Senior Manager, Digital & Social Media – PwC
Faye Green, Recruitment Partner – eBay
Laila El-Metoui, Education Consultant – LelmEducation
Joanne Lockwood, Founder - SEE Change Happen
Charlotte Davies, Corporal - The Royal Air Force
Gamal Turawa, Managing Director - Purple Frog Training
What was reassuring was the general consensus of focussing on building inclusive cultures that promote a sense of belonging and not just focussing on 1 or 2 select groups.
From the discussion, here is a summary of takeaways to be a better Ally (to LGBTQ+ colleagues)
- Do your research first using trusted sources where possible.
- Resources we use include:
- “Ask if it is ok to ask” - if you are curious and want to find out more from a colleague, ask if it is ok to ask. Keep in mind, that it’s not easy if EVERYONE goes to one individual to be the fountain of all knowledge or asks personal questions without permission from the person.
- Don’t let ‘fear’ get in the way of being a good Ally. If you make a mistake own it. If your intentions were good and you acknowledge the mistake this will have a very different impact to a careless or hurtful comment.
- Defend your colleagues even when they are not in the room. If you hear or observe discriminatory language, call it out at the time and be consistent whether your colleague is also in the room or not.
- Stand side-by-side in your support but not in-front. Don’t ‘over-protect’ your colleagues or take your support too far. Introduce them to others by their name and not their characteristics!!
- Be visible in your support. Openly displaying symbols of support (Pins, emojis, lanyards etc) is a great way to be open and approachable to any colleagues that may need ‘safe-space’ support.
- Be an Ally to EVERYONE not just people from specific groups. It’s great to support individuals but creating inclusive cultures where everyone belongs means being open to everyone. Be kind and supportive even if someone is from a group you don’t know or understand so well. We are all human and all deserve to be treated with dignity.
The evening also featured a speech from Dylan Calder, Director of Pop Up Projects who spoke about Pop Up’s incredible programme, The Rainbow Library which will see children’s authors collaborating with groups of young LGBTQ+ people to produce new stories for children infused with LGBTQ+ experiences.
Thanks to everyone who attended! Let’s continue to purposefully ensure we all support each other and celebrate our different stories, experiences and backgrounds.