DISCUSSING SEXUALITY AND GENDER IN THE WORKPLACE

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The UK’s first trans summit reveals LGBT+ issues no longer taboo as over 80% of people are comfortable talking about sexuality and gender at work

Younger generations are more open about discussing sexuality and gender identity with their fellow LGBT+ colleagues in the workplace a study by PinkNews has found. Gen Z is most open (89%) in comparison to over 55s. The North West (84%) and London (82%) are the regions where topics such as same-sex relationships are no longer seen as taboo. A massive leap forward in openness considering the age of consent for LGBT+ people was only equalised 20 years ago*.

Commissioned by the world’s number one media brand for the global LGBT+ and Gen Z community, PinkNews, the study also reveals that people not ‘out’ in the workplace choose to keep their sexuality private (20%) or don’t find it necessary or relevant (22%) to share. Sadly, almost one fifth (19%) of people ‘don’t want to be viewed or treated differently’ by their sexuality or gender identity.

Ahead of PinkNews inaugural global digital Trans Summit this month, research also shows that over half of respondents’ employers have LGBT+ inclusive policies (52%) in the workplace. While one third (33%) do not know if these are in place. So almost 20% of companies in the UK still don’t have LGBT+ inclusive policies, a key subject of the summit.

The UK Trans summit, in partnership with IBM will look at how employers can attract, retain and protect LGBT+ people, with a focus on trans issues specifically.

There’s still work to be done to ensure that companies have the right tools to start building and improving their LGBT-inclusive policies. PinkNews’ conference will provide a safe place for individuals to ask questions about transitioning at work, leadership and more.

Said Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of PinkNews.

Transphobic hate crimes have quadrupled over the past five years in the UK with backlash faced by transgender people increasing, in large, due to the toxic nature of the reformation of the Gender Recognition Act.

The study also revealed that despite openness in the workplace rising, trans-visibility is way off being accepted by the general population as well as LGBT+ community. Over 7 out of 10 respondents (72%) did not find any TV show or pop culture moment showcasing transgender identifies as important. This includes almost half  (49%) of all LGBT+ respondents.

A few respondents (including LGBT+ and cis and/or straight people) did say however that Laverne Cox’s character in Orange Is The New Black, Sophia Burset, and RuPaul’s Drag Race US’ contestant GottMik have been important from a trans-visibility perspective (5% and 3%, respectively).

Chief Executive of PinkNews, Benjamin Cohen (he/him) added:

It’s our mission to inform, inspire change, and empower people, including the LGBT+ community, to be authentically themselves, so it’s great to see how open younger generations are when it comes to discussing their sexuality and gender identity in the workplace. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to trans-visibility and ensuring that companies have policies in place (and actually follow them through), creating open and safe workplaces for both LGBT+ people and allies. As we have seen, younger generations take a different approach to sexuality in a professional context. 89% of Gen Z say they are open to discussions about sexuality with their colleagues. When looking towards the future of work, it is vital that employers build inclusive workplaces for new generations.

PinkNews Trans Summit will bring together businesses, charities and individuals striving to improve access to healthcare, career opportunities, and community-building for trans people including Kamilla Kamaruddin, GP and Winner of PinkNews Frontline Hero Award, and Jake Graf, award winning director, writer and actor.

For tickets and more information about PinkNews Trans Summit 2021, please visit PinkNews.co.uk/Trans-Summit.

*In 1994 the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act lowered the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18, and in 2001 it was further lowered to 16.