It’s a shame that the BBC has decided not to renew their membership of our Diversity Champions programme, but as with all membership programmes, organisations come and go depending on what’s best for their inclusion journey at the time. We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting.
This news comes in the wake of organised attacks on workplace inclusion that extend far beyond the Diversity Champions programme. It is shocking that organisations are being pressured into rolling back support for LGBTQ+ employees.
Ultimately, it is LGBTQ+ people who suffer. Our research shows that LGBTQ+ people are often disadvantaged at work:
- Almost one in five LGBTQ+ staff have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues because they're LGBTQ+.
- More than a third of LGBTQ+ staff have hidden or disguised that they are LGBTQ+ at work because they were afraid of discrimination.
- Almost one in five LGBTQ+ people who were looking for work said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job.
Inclusion matters. We depend on work for our livelihoods. Many spend more time at work than anywhere else. LGBTQ+ people deserve to feel safe and respected at work, and the human impact of these attacks can’t be underestimated.
Attacks on organisations who support LGBTQ-inclusive workplaces form part of a wider onslaught on those supporting LGBTQ+ rights. Of course, for LGBTQ+ charities, there is nothing new about being attacked. Many of the arguments against trans people today are simply recycled homophobia from the 80s and 90s. We all remember being told gay people were predators and lesbians were a threat in single-sex spaces. That wasn’t true of lesbians, bi and gay people then, and it isn’t true of trans people now.
Despite this, public support for LGBTQ+ people continues to build. And, reflecting that, our Diversity Champions programme continues to thrive. We now work with more than 900 organisations to help create environments in which all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people can thrive. We are heartened that more and more organisations are choosing to support their LGBTQ+ employees.
At Stonewall, we stand for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. We imagine a world where all of us are free to be ourselves and can live our lives to the full. We face rising intolerance degrading our hard-won rights. But we won't be silenced. Not until all of us are free to be proud, free to be loved, free to be together, free to be who we are.
Our work continues until the world we imagine is the world we live in.