30 June 2022
As part of Pride Month, I was invited to speak on a panel at the Westminster Insights ‘LGBT+ in the Workplace’ conference. I was there in my capacity as team lead for the Catch22 LGBT+ Representatives and as Equality, Diversity and Hate Crime Lead within my service, Victim First.
Chaired by Baroness Liz Barker, LGBT spokesperson in the House of Lords, the day was packed with panels and discussion about a range of topics – from correct policy and practice and crucially social support for LGBT+ employees. Everyone shared the same values and desire to learn.
One of the presenters really stood out for me. Zoë Mackay from the energy company OVO shared her experience as a trans person in the workplace. She was such an engaging presenter and gave lots of personal, emotional insight into what it’s like to transition in the workplace, lots of dos and don’ts for supporting someone through transition and some best practice from her current organisation.
Scott Sallée and I were the last panel of the day, and I had the privilege of wrapping up with my presentation; covering many of the themes that had been discussed throughout the conference.
We discussed wellbeing for LGBT+ staff in the workplace, and I was able to talk about how we support victims of discrimination as part of our work at Victim First. I was able to draw on some of the best wellbeing practice from Catch22 – not only general best practice (i.e. having inclusive policies in place such as our Trans Inclusion Policy), but also some learnings that I’ve gained over the last two years since starting the Catch22 LGBT+ Representatives team.
Some of those learnings that I covered in my presentation were things such as:
- Taking notice of how your organisation portrays its visibility. During this I spoke about ideas such as visible representation of LGBT+ support amongst staff, regular space for open education such as webinars and training sessions and involving all levels of employees in these activities from the board of trustees down to frontline staff.
- Creating safe spaces for collaboration on issues between allies and LGBT+ employees both formally and informally.
- Encouraging the use of pronouns in visible areas such as email signatures and how this helps to normalise discussions around gender and show due care and attention towards inclusive support for all staff no matter how they may identify.
- Setting up a LGBT+ support group, such as our Reps team, which – at Catch22 – has managed to not only fuel all of these learnings but has also helped to promote others to set up groups such as our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion working group and most recently our Women’s Health and Social group.
I could see some people taking notes in the in-person audience and engaging with my jokes! I hope the online audience were able to get something from the session as well.
Baroness Barker did a fabulous summary, demonstrating that the learnings from all the sessions really did link up and create a cohesive approach for people to take back to workplaces from all sectors.
My biggest take away from the day is that there is still so much to do, and we have to keep reviewing our approach and listening to the LGBTQ+ community. I also took away that Catch22 is on the right track, both from a policy perspective but also on the growing support around the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda. There will always be learnings and things to progress, and I’m really pleased that the LGBT+ Representatives team can be a part of that.
Overall, the day was such a fantastic perspective of what organisations can do to open up safe spaces for LGBT+ employees from wellbeing practices, to policy to social support. It was a privilege to get to be part of the panellists and I look forward to any similar opportunities in the future.
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