Strictly Recruitment By: Strictly Recruitment -

Roy’s experience

Did you know….

Many LGBTQIA+ people still don’t feel comfortable in the workplace.

One study shows that this discomfort has led to mental health problems such as acute anxiety – with 46% of people stating that they were unable to fulfil public delivery such as presentations and client meetings without experiencing anxiety.

The anxiety around workplace communications isn’t just around meetings and presentations, though.

Almost a fifth (18%) of people stated that workplace interactions are their biggest source of anxiety and 35% of people said that they feel unable to express their opinions in the workplace.

57% of people stated that they don’t feel comfortable telling their superior that they’re LGBTQIA+, and it’s easy to see why there is a communication crisis in the workplace for these minorities.

We spoke to the amazing Roy today who manages our offices here at Strictly Towers. He has been out and proud from the age of 17 and he shares his experience working in the professional world as an LGBTQIA+ member…

 

What is your experience of hiding or not addressing your sexuality in the workplace?

I am lucky, that I have been able to be out and proud in all my jobs. As these have all been hospitality based, there isn’t normally an issue

 

When and how did you first communicate with colleagues and/or line managers about your sexual orientation and how was that experience?

In my current role, it was just after I started nearly 3 years ago. They were all fine with it and it has never caused any problems. In fact, on centre events I am encouraged to be myself and if I want to come in a drag costume there is no issue.

 

How did you tackle the situation? Did you tell someone who was close to you, or did you got to a manager at the time?

I think it was quite noticeable and I don’t shy away from it.

 

Sexual orientation is something that is personal to everyone, what was the driving force for wanting to communicate this to colleagues?

Since coming out at the age of 17, I have always been open about my sexual orientation. I believe that it takes a person a lot of courage to ask someone if they are gay! Therefore, if someone asks me, as a proud gay man I would always tell them.

 

Throughout your professional career, have you noticed any improvements or changes on discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace?

It has become more acceptable and part of day-to-day life. Whilst we have decriminalised section 28, I feel that it is wrong that homosexuality/ gender choice is not allowed to be taught in schools.

In the workplace, I can only comment on all of mine, where there was never an issue. I think it should be the company’s responsibility to be accepting off all choices of LGBTQIA+ & gender. Having a different gender than at birth or being gay doesn’t make you any less capable of doing the job.

 

What was the biggest obstacle that you overcame to share this information at the time?

I suppose, I am one of the lucky ones, where I have never had an issue. I am me, and a happy me! If someone has an issue with my sexuality, then that is their problem not mine.

 

You’re taking this big part of yourself and sharing/giving it to someone else to profess, you don’t know how they’re going to react, did you ever find you were worried or scared that someone might react in a negative way, as you can’t control someone’s beliefs or feelings?

There have been times when some staff members have not been supportive. On these occasions, I tend to not be so open around them.

However, I would talk to them and advise that whist I appreciate their views and beliefs, we must work together, and as an openly gay man, I will respect their beliefs, but they also have to respect mine.

 

Is there anything addressed in your equal employment opportunity statement, and are there any identities listed in your non-discrimination policy?

Yes. Our Equal Opportunities Policy list gender, sexual orientation, race, colour, gender reassignment etc.

 

What changes do companies need to be making to ensure LGBTQIA+ employees feel safe and accepted?

They must be understanding of the way the human race is adapting to take on all different lifestyle choices and to have a non-judgemental safeguarding policy in place should anyone require it.

 

We’ve seen positive progression in the LGBTQIA+ support with consumer and corporate organisations, how have you found being an LGBTQIA+ member in today’s fast-moving society?

As an older gay man, I have found the progression quite fast passed and in a good way! When I came out, at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, we didn’t have so much compassion or understanding, and never thought we would be where we are today. Long may it continue! Hopefully, in years to come, there will be no need for a pride month or celebrations as it will be the norm.

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming out in their workplace?

If you are happy and accepting of yourself, then do it. Should you feel wary, then have a chat with your HR department, who should be able to assist you. But never ever be something that someone else tells you to be to be accepted. If that’s the case, then that company is not right for you!

If you are looking for any support, below are some great charities which help support LGBTQIA+ communities and have some great groups to meet new people!

 

https://lgbt.foundation/

https://mindout.org.uk/