Solutions for LGBT Discrimination in the Workplace and in School

 

A safe work and learning environment is critical to building strong self-esteem and encouraging productivity for LGBT people. In 2015, the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that 34 percent of LGBT students were bullied on school property. Similarly, Out & Equal reports that one in four LGBT employees face discriminatory treatment in the workplace. There isn’t one magic remedy to LGBT discrimination, but specific initiatives can make a difference. Providing education, reviewing policies and intentionally creating a positive working and learning environment are essential to the inclusion of all.

Training

Often, discrimination occurs unintentionally. A derogatory comment may not be meant to intimidate an LGBT person or make them feel marginalized. Training is key to helping employees and students gain understanding and empathy. For example, an activity that examines common stereotypes provides an awareness of misconceptions about the LGBT community and how misguided remarks can poison a working and learning environment. On a larger scale, instituting a Safe Zone training that teaches students and employees about hurtful language, how to intervene, when discrimination occurs and how to provide intentional support to LGBT community members signals expectations in an environment that is free of hate speech and disrespectful behavior.

Protective Policies

In 28 states, employment can be terminated if you publicly identify as LGBT. Developing organizational policies that ban this type of discrimination deters negative behavior and encourages an open and inclusive workplace climate. On February 26, 2018, the Manassas Park City School Board added LGBT to their general discrimination policy. Protective policies in schools allow students and staff to feel comfortable expressing their individual identity and provide assurance that they'll have a safe learning environment. Moreover, involving the organization in the process of developing anti-discrimination policies create deeper understanding and ownership.

Support Organizations

Encouraging the development of LGBT support groups sends a clear message that the organization is supportive of everyone and that LGBT discrimination won't be tolerated. In some cases, youth has experienced resistance from school administration to the establishment of gay-straight alliances (GSAs). GSAs give LGBT students the opportunity to have a dialogue about bullying and find support from one another. Similarly, corporations that support LGBT employee resource groups communicate that diversity is a priority and discrimination isn't an organizational value. Employees find community, support and reassurance from affinity groups that focus on LGBT issues.

Inclusive Messaging

Supporting anti-discrimination for LGBT people is predicated upon messaging that is woven into the fabric of the organization. For schools, this can be an uphill battle. LGBT students are looking for relevant resources in libraries, curriculum that addresses LGBT history and teachers that add LGBT issues to their content. Combatting LGBT discrimination in schools includes more than just a peripheral approach, but going deeper may mean facing opposition. School boards, curriculum committees and administration must provide support to make transformative change.

 

 

Source: work.chron.com

 

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant for business, industry and educational organizations. She advises college students about career and educational goals and is known as an innovative writer and trainer.