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LGBTQ+ History Month: How To Be A Diverse & Inclusive Employer

Happy LGBTQ+ history month! 

LGBTQ+ history month takes place every February, marking a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non-binary history. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the history of LGBTQ+ rights and related civil rights movements.

Here at Student Beans, we’re proud to support LGBTQ+ history month as we affirm our commitment to allyship not just during this month, but all year round.

In this blog, we’ll share some of the ways that we work as a company to support our LGBTQ+ employees, giving a brief history of this occasion, why employers should be taking note and how to be an active ally. 

The data…

A recent survey by Student Beans revealed that two in five young people do not feel represented in sex education due to its focus on heteronormative relationships. Equally, almost 9 in 10 Gen Zers surveyed believe that sex education needs to be more inclusive, with 20% revealing they had never been taught about contraception in a non-heterosexual relationship. 

Gen Z are the consumers of tomorrow, and many have already begun to enter the workplace. Whilst it appears there are failings in the education system around LGBTQ+ teachings, employers should listen up and take note of these findings.

Many people identify as LGBTQ+, and it’s integral that they are supported and treated fairly wherever they go.

Why do we celebrate LGBTQ+ history month?

LGBTQ+ history month was first coined by the group Schools Out UK in 2005. The month of February was chosen specifically because it coincided with the abolition of Section 28 in 2003 (a piece of legislation that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools).

We celebrate LGBTQ+ history month by recognising the current struggles still faced by this community, as well as celebrating the achievements of LGBTQ+ figures throughout time. 

By actively participating in LGBTQ+ history month, employers can ensure that everyone in the workplace feels like they are part of an inclusive and safe environment.

What is this year’s theme?

This year’s theme is ‘Behind the Lens’. This theme references art, cinema and film and aims to shine a light on the work of LGBTQ+ people in this field, both in the past and present.

This theme is also linked to how LGBTQ+ lives are portrayed in the media versus the reality of lived experiences. This year’s theme allows us to focus on reclaiming the past, celebrating the present and creating an equal future towards social justice. 

At Student Beans, we’re proud to have developed our own internal resource which will be shared with the entire company each week. Week one looks at LGBTQ+ representation behind the lens in the 21st century, whilst week two will focus on the present and week three looks at (you guessed it!) the future.

How Student Beans is an active ally

At Student Beans, we recognise that feeling safe and comfortable is a vital ingredient for a healthy workplace. That’s why we’ve implemented a number of initiatives to empower our LGBTQ+ employees.

All employees (future and present) must complete allies training as well as training in diversity and inclusion. Our equity, diversity and inclusion mission is to empower our people to thrive – and we recognise that being an ally isn’t just a once a year job. That’s why we’ve created spaces like Pride 365: a space where resources, information, support and more can be shared all year round. 

All employees have access to an anonymous ‘safe space’ form, and most importantly, have access to our #BeansAllies slack group. This group is a network for all Student Beans employees, specifically aiming to represent minority groups. It does this by giving them a platform for their voices to be amplified. 

How are brands getting involved?

It’s not just employers who should be showcasing their support this LGBTQ+ history month.

In fact, many popular brands have run some fantastic and inspiring campaigns throughout February. This is important for visibility alone, with a recent study by Channel 4 revealing that LGBTQ+ people appear in just 3% of adverts.

Check out a few of our favourite ones below.

1. Starbucks: Every Name is a Story

This advert was aired by Starbucks in 2019 as part of their #WhatsYourName campaign. The advert celebrated the significance for trans and gender diverse people as they use their new name in public, telling the story of a trans boy who tries out his new name for the first time when ordering his drink at Starbucks.

You can watch the advert below:

2. Clear Channels Out of Home Campaign

Out of Home media and infrastructure company Clear Channel worked with Ogilvy to launch their 2022 campaign in aid of LGBTQ+ history month. This campaign saw billboards around the UK share little-known facts and insights around queer history. Clear Channel wrote that they were aiming to remind the world that “the LGBTQ+ experience is nothing new, but has just been buried from view for centuries”.

3. Dublin Bus’ Long Road to Pride

This campaign told a heart-warming and real-life story from an Irish public transport provider, (Dublin Bus).  Drawing on the fact that only 1% of attendees at Dublin Pride were over 65, this company paired older and younger LGBTQ+ people together to attend the 2019 celebration. On the way to the party, the audience learns emotional stories from the older Irish generation.

It’s a tearjerker, we warn you!

Learn more about how you can support your LGBTQ+ employees from Inclusive Employers. For more insights and resources, sign up to our weekly newsletter, powered by Voxburner.

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