Despite making massive leaps forward in terms of equality in recent years, it’s still not an easy time to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Although anti-discrimination laws are in place, a recent survey from YouGov and TotalJobs found that only 36% of workplaces have dedicated anti-trans discrimination policies. In fact, 43% of trans employees have quit a job due to an unwelcoming work environment, while a huge 65% said that they felt they had to hide being trans from their employer.
This doesn’t just apply to big businesses; all employers should be looking at their policies and procedures to make sure that everyone is welcome. Here are just some of the ways you can create a LGBTQ+ friendly workplace in your salon or beauty business.
Have a clear mission
You might know in your head that you would never discriminate against anyone based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other factor, but how are current or prospective employees supposed to know if you don’t let them know? Have a clear mission statement that states all measures in place to ensure equal opportunities for all. You can even put yourself and your staff through mandatory diversity training, so everyone is working towards a common goal for equality.
Take it seriously
As well as openly setting out your equal opportunities policies, you should also have a clear, visible and strict anti-discrimination policy. Be sure that any reports of homophobic or transphobic bullying are taken seriously and dealt with accordingly. If you’re not within the LGBTQ+ community, it’s not your place to decide what is and isn’t offensive, so always listen to reports of bullying and understand where the victim is coming from.
Get behind the cause
Actions speak louder than words, so be sure to actively stand up for LGBTQ+ rights, as well as just writing policies. Actively promote all of your employees to become allies through education and then take that ally-ship beyond the walls of your business. Get out into the local community and support pride events to show that your business really does care.
Make family benefits open to everyone
Every family is different and should be celebrated. Opening up initiatives such as parental leave for all gender identities means everyone can spend time with a new little one without being penalised.
Embrace gender neutrality
This can be big moves, such as gender neutral toilets, or small changes to your daily vocabulary. Using terms such as ‘partner’ rather than husband or wife, or not initially assuming someone’s gender allows everyone to feel comfortable. Adding your pronouns to your Instagram page is also a simple way to let new clients know that it’s a safe space for them to be open about their chosen pronouns.
There is so much more you can do, but these are good places to start. If we all work together, we can create safe, inclusive workplaces for everyone.