Workplace Guides: Straight Allies

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Senior managersLine Managers | Straight allies at every level

Top Ten tips

1. GET TO KNOW THE ISSUES Make time to speak to your gay colleagues, friends and family and find out about their experiences as a gay person at work. They will have ideas about how your workplace can be made more gay-friendly.

2. MAKE IT PERSONAL Talking about experiences of your own, about gay family-members and friends you have, or stories that gay colleagues have shared with you (check with them first!) can help others understand why it's important.

3. BE YOURSELF For inspiration on how to be an effective ally you need only reflect on your own personal values. Ask yourself, and your colleagues, how would you like to be treated at work?

4. ASK FOR HELP Everyone worries about saying the wrong thing but if you're taking a positive step you'll find that gay colleagues are happy to answer your questions.

5. BE VISIBLE Make clear public statements about the importance of gay equality to you and your organisation. Making a public commitment to gay equality will help people understand it isn't a tick-box exercise.

6. PUT WORDS INTO PRACTICE Whether you're the CEO or a line manager, people watch you and take cues from your behaviour. Don't simply talk about gay equality, challenge homophobic behaviour, become an ally or sponsor of the network group and attend events like Pride.

7. DEMONSTRATE LEADERSHIP As a leader being visible and saying 'gay equality at work is important' can powerfully affect the culture and tone within an organisation, a division or a team. It also demonstrates the organisation's values to stakeholders, clients and customers.

8. MENTOR AND SUPPORT GAY STAFF Their sexual orientation is relevant to their experiences in the workplace and understanding this will help you to manage them better and help them to perform to their full potential.

9. HOLD COLLEAGUES TO ACCOUNT No-one can personally drive every single equality initiative. Holding colleagues to account on what they are doing to advance gay equality at work is one of the most effective tools that straight allies have.

10. MAKE IT NATURAL There's no right or wrong way to be a straight ally. Be yourself so that your colleagues know gay equality isn't something you're doing because you have to, but because you want to.

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