During #LGBTHM21 our friends at the Housing Quality Network (HQN) are running a series of blogs looking at equality, diversity and inclusion.
1st of February marks the start of the annual celebration of LGBT+ history month and the theme this year is ‘mind, body, spirit’.
A highly appropriate theme amidst the gloom of a global pandemic during which we have all had our minds, bodies and spirits tested to the max by the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown at us.
Whilst Covid-19 was meant to be the great equalizer – because we are all touched by it and no-one is immune from the disease – the impact, as we know has been highly unequal.
Some groups of people have been more affected than others and some parts of the LGBT+ community have been particularly hit for a number of reasons. As Damien Barr, the poet, said, ‘whilst we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.’
So, what’s our role as housing organisations and why is this important for our sector?
The reasons why LGBT+ inclusion are important to our sector are:
- Because we are people organisations – we want our employees to be able to perform to their best and to give all they have got when they are at work and we want our communities to be cohesive and accepting.
- Because we are caring organisations – we care about creating a working environment where people can bring their whole self to work and we also care about those live in our properties.
- Because our roots steeped in social justice – social housing is a movement grounded in a commitment to tackle injustice and inequality.
So, what are my three top tips on what you can do this month to progress LGBT+ inclusion within your organisation and forge a more inclusive culture into 2021?
- Use the opportunity afforded by LGBT+ history month to engage in conversations. There are some great, free, resources out there. Why not download a poster and display it in prominent areas across your business. Combine this with an internal blog about why LGBT+ inclusion matters to your organisation.
- If you don’t have any staff network groups then now could be an ideal time to set them up – ask your staff what they would like to be involved in. It maybe that you are too small to have the demand for an LGBT+ specific network so how about creating a diversity champions programme – where all D&I enthusiasts, including allies, can start to make a positive impact?
- If you don’t already, then start monitoring the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of your staff, before sending out the monitoring forms ensure you explain why you are doing this and why it matters to build both the authenticity and confidence in your collection of the data.
There is no better time that history month to progress your LGBT+ inclusion journey and as Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Positive About Inclusion is a newly formed social enterprise, an equality, diversity and inclusion consultancy delivering bespoke solutions, interventions and training to support organisations on their inclusion journey.