Workplace Guides: Straight Allies

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'Straight ally' is a term used to describe heterosexual people who believe that lesbian, gay and bisexual people should experience full equality in the workplace. Good straight allies recognise that gay people can perform better if they can be themselves and straight allies use their role within an organisation to create a culture where this can happen. Straight allies might be at the very top of an organisation or a colleague in a team. Either way, they recognise that it's not just the responsibility of gay people to create a workplace culture that is inclusive of everyone. The action they take can range from being a leader of an organisation that puts equality - including gay equality - at the heart of the business to being a junior member of staff who challenges homophobic banter amongst colleagues.

Stonewall interviewed straight allies from a range of sectors - most are employed by one of the 600 major employers that are part of Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme, Britain's employers' forum on sexual orientation. Each was recommended to us by colleagues who felt they had played a significant role in making their workplaces more gay-friendly. We wanted to establish what makes some heterosexual people take responsibility for this work and why they think it is important.

This good practice guide is the seventh in a series from Stonewall, Britain's lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) charity. It details the experiences, the motivations and the impact made by straight allies. Its aim is to inspire straight people at all levels within organisations to play an active role in making their workplaces more gay-friendly. The guide also shows organisations how they can engage straight people to become allies.



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