LGBT+ Inclusion and Allyship

Claire Williams, Managing Director – Operations, at Inclusive Employers reflects on the importance of allyship and how significant this year's LGBT History Month theme – Body, Mind, Spirit – felt in the context of a pandemic. Scroll down to read more...

I’m feeling slightly emotionally triggered as I write this piece for Inclusion Insights because this concept of being in it together and being OK is for me, at the heart of being an ally. Any type of ally. I am a very lucky ally though because some of the people I love most in the world, many colleagues and clients define as LGBTQ+. This is one of my many privileges.  To some extent I have a limited understanding, as a straight woman, of a different world. Some different challenges, some different opportunities, but different all the same to dominant cultures in many organisations.

This year’s theme for LGBTQ+ History Month was Body, Mind and Spirit and it feels so relevant to us all as we have struggled to varying degrees with the impact of loss and lockdown.

As the vaccine grows and the virus shrinks, we will all be able to reflect on the 12 months between LGBTQ+ History month 2020 and 2021 as a year we never imagined could happen. We had to find new ways to nurture our bodies, our minds and our spirits, be it with Joe Wicks, mental health webinars, prayer or kindnesses.

Simple acts of kindness will be one of the features of this year that I won’t forget. When allowed outside, and from a distance, strangers greet each other with a smile, a word of connection (obviously, normally weather related!) a sense of empathy – this feeling resonates that we are in this together, we will all be ok.

As we move into our post-covid, or covid-managed, world, let’s not lose sight of how empowering it is to feel that we are in this together, we will all be ok.  We should apply this spirit of allyship to all aspects of our working lives and help those around us who don’t have the privilege, to gain understanding and humility in relation to difference. Here are my top tips for developing your own spirit of allyship:

1. Be curious about colleagues, ask simple open questions to learn more about them

2. Show respect by listening carefully, remembering that we are all, most importantly, individuals but also part of different groups.

3. Remember what people tell you about themselves and reflect it back to help build a relationship.

4. Reflect on the differences and similarities between your lives.

5. Be active not passive, be vocal in your allyship.

You can find out more about LGBT+ History Month here and please get in touch if you would like to know more about allyship as continue to support your LGBT+ community within your organisation.