Stonewall today publishes findings to help employers to support bisexual employees and develop bisexual inclusive policy and procedures. Bisexual People in the Workplace, supported by the Home Office, shows how the experience of bisexual staff is often distinct from lesbian and gay employees and what employers can do to address this. One finding is that lesbian, gay and bisexual employee network groups often exclude bisexuals.
Bisexual People in the Workplace highlights the difficulties bisexual employees face when trying to be out in the workplace. It also includes recommendations based on good practice currently being developed by some of the 500 employer members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme.
‘The overwhelming message of Bisexual People in the Workplace is that employers must not assume that the experience of bisexual staff is somehow identical to that of their gay and lesbian colleagues,’ said Alan Johnson, MP at the launch of the guide. ‘Too often, bisexual colleagues are subject to stereotypical assumptions and beliefs by both their straight and gay colleagues. This is something that all employers must confront and address.’
‘Bisexual employees, like all staff, perform better when they can be themselves. For many bisexual employees it can be difficult to be open about their sexual orientation – particularly if they don’t feel that their employee network is supportive of bisexual staff,’ says David Shields, Stonewall Director of Workplace Programmes. ‘There are a number of practical actions employers can take to include bisexual staff at work. By making workplaces more inclusive everyone benefits and employers can make the most of the talent they have.’
Bisexual People in the Workplace can be downloaded from www.stonewall.org.uk/bisexualworkplaceguide
Individual copies of the 24 page booklet can be ordered from Stonewall on 08000 50 20 20.
One place to make a start on confronting unhelpful attitudes to bisexual people would be among stand-up comedians. It seems to be the done thing to take a straw poll of the sexual orientation of the audience, making life uncomfortable for people who maybe don't want to be labelled, or maybe are not 100% out everywhere all the time, catching them off-guard, and then go ahead and make offensive comments about bisexual people. I know someone who finds this very distressing and has given up on going to stand-up comedy as a result.
bi-friendly babe, 12 November 2009
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