Sexual orientation is encompassed within all our equality work along with all other strands. With the move towards a single duty encompassing all protected characteristics, why do I need to work specifically on this single strand?

• Our strong belief is that there is sufficient work still to do on sexual orientation inclusion to justify the strand specific focus. Employment protection only came in to place for LGB people in 2003. Evidence shows that even with current protections 1 in 5 experience LGB people experience bullying and harassment at work.

• Public duty: There is now an equal public duty to promote sexual orientation equality which requires employers to be more proactive and to specifically address all the ‘protected characteristics’, including sexual orientation.

• Multi strand learning: What you learn in one strand of diversity can inform your practices in another, so you can work better across all strands by taking a strand-specific approach. The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index is the definitive benchmarking tool which can inform your practices in other areas.

• Strand hierarchy: Often when people club strands together they run the risk of creating a strand hierarchy where the focus is on gender, race and disability; and sexual orientation falls off the edge. This is likely to fail in creating a fully inclusive environment. We encourage employers to work on all strands but to give sexual orientation an important and equal footing.

• Reputation building: Sexual orientation is still sometimes viewed as the most challenging diversity strand but this can mean that leaders in the field are seen as particularly forward thinking and innovative. Being good on LGB diversity is a litmus test for being good at diversity generally, so your LGB friendly credentials will also improve your reputation with other diversity groups.

• Diversity professionals: It is difficult for one diversity professional to be an expert on all strands of diversity. The best organisations partner with external experts to inform and develop their diversity practices.  This is particularly true of sexual orientation which is sometimes seen in the ‘too difficult’ box. This is also an alternative to having large in-house diversity teams.

• Staff confidence: Working with the leading LGB charity will give your staff more confidence in your work in this area and direct access to good practice. The programme supports diversity professionals, senior champions and LGB employees.

• We don’t want to single people out: The Diversity Champions programme doesn’t single people out in a negative way but gives the correct recognition of sexual orientation as a legitimate and equal diversity strand.