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LGBTQ2+ : The Ultimate LGBT Inclusion & Q&A Guide

The Comprehensive LGBTQ Workplace inclusion & FAQ on LGBT / LGBTQ Definitions, Meanings, and resources online

In this guide, you will read about LGBTQ Inclusion in the workplace and the most-asked questions about LGBTQ and LGBTQ2+.

The campaign and clamor for greater inclusion of members of the LGBTQ community have been steadily gaining ground. With the walls of oppression torn down bits by bits, and with the overall fight against discrimination and discriminatory practices against the marginalized making great strides, LGBTQ stands to benefit much.

Our society has made tremendous progress in uplifting the plight of the marginalized and underprivileged. Society, on the whole, has been more open and has implemented programs and policies that will ensure their inclusion. LGBTQ, in particular, has been afforded privileges and rights. That was not the case only a few decades ago.

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Despite the successes, however, some still resist the idea of diversity and inclusivity. Many still retain the old-fashioned notions about privilege, exclusivity, and discrimination against certain groups and individuals. Though successful on most fronts, some work still needs to be done, especially concerning accepting LGBTQ.

One front where the fight for equality is gaining ground is in the workplace. Gender sensitivity, diversity, and inclusivity in the workplace have been steadily increasing. Steadily increasing, however, is not enough. Full acceptance must be the ideal, especially if the individuals have proven themselves capable, skilled, and of good moral standing.

Resistance against reform is always present in forms of attitudes and some archaic societal and institutional norms. We must, then, ensure that we never let our guard down in fighting against social inequality and fighting for equal opportunities and privileges for all.


The need for LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace

We must extend opportunities to everybody regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender. The fight for social justice is anchored, ultimately on the idea that all of us have rights and privileges by being human. Thus, the privilege to work and be protected in the workplace is a fundamental one: everybody must have the opportunity so long as one is qualified.

That already must be enough argument for the greater inclusion of members of LGBTQ in companies, academic institutions, and other employment opportunities. Sadly, this is not the case in some companies and institutions. Prejudices still exist among some people against the members of the community. That should not be the case based on the idea of fairness and equal rights.

Issues of rights, fairness, and capabilities aside, companies should fight for greater inclusivity for members of the LGBTQ community. They have to do this to promote social harmony, as well as their social responsibility. They stand to benefit and gain if they have members of the community in their fold.

For one, members of the community do have exceptional talent and skill. They are as much as capable, just like other members of society, if not even better. The companies should take advantage of it; it is a complete waste if the employment sector never utilizes the talents, skills, and capabilities of the LGBTQ members.

The community at large will eventually benefit from employing them. Companies should harness their talent, ability, and creativity for the good of society and the community. It will add to the further productivity of society in general and minimize problems and social tensions that may arise due to lack of employment and prevailing social inequality.

Thus, there is no reason for the companies not to fight and allow the inclusion of LGBTQ members. Everyone stands to benefit from their participation in the labor force. Only those trapped in the medieval ages will have some misgivings having members of the community included in significant numbers as part of the workforce.

Essential strategies for the inclusion of LGBTQ in the workplace

Companies, then, must take the lead in the fight for greater inclusivity of the LGBTQ community. They must use and enforce strategies to ensure adequate representation from this sector and enough diversity in hiring and employing people.

Here are some of the strategies that companies can use and apply to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ members in the workplace:

Have an overall policy and guidelines for LGBTQ inclusion

The company must have an overall policy that will promote inclusivity and diversity, especially for LGBTQ+. The company must take the lead in crafting those policies and ensure that this would be enforced from top to bottom. Ensure that everyone is aware and oriented about the policies regarding the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.

Have a holistic approach

Aside from having a top to bottom approach with regards to policies, the company must also ensure that inclusivity will cover all aspects of employment: from assessing qualifications and hiring applicants to be employees, to enforcing principles of fairness, to upholding rules and policies regarding diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, as well as in disciplining employees.

They must cover all bases, and it means all. The overall diversity policies will guide both the employees and employers about proper conduct, behavior, and attitude in dealing, not only with LGBTQ+ members but also with others. Simply put, companies must have a code of conduct that promotes inclusivity, especially among LGBTQ+ members and other discriminated persons.

Creating the environment and atmosphere for inclusion

Included in the policy must be the creation of an environment conducive to inclusivity. It must be LGBTQ+ friendly and must promote an atmosphere of trust and camaraderie with that sector. That will ensure harmony among employees and will promote goodwill towards each other.

Having this environment will also lessen the possibility of discrimination in the company. They will also be intolerant of such conduct. Lessening the possible discrimination and other acts will be an excellent step in promoting inclusivity for LGBTQ in the workplace.

Examples of what the company can do to have an environment conducive to LGBTQ+ inclusion are having toilets appropriate for them, dressing rooms, and the like. The company can also have facilities that will cater to them or promote activities that will harmonize their relationship with other employees.

Instilling proper attitudes to employees regarding LGBTQ

Give the employees the needed orientation

The company must nurture and develop proper attitudes towards members of the LGBTQ. They must be oriented towards the politically correct dealing with them and other minorities and groups as well. The leadership must ensure that respect is accorded to everyone, whether LGBTQ or other minority groups.

Promoting appropriate use of language at the workplace

Part of instilling a proper attitude is making all the employees aware of language and other issues about LGBTQ. In this context, respect means that one must be addressed correctly regarding their gender and attitudes. Our language in the workplace usually addresses one using a masculine or feminine. One must be as gender-neutral or gender-sensitive as possible.

Use language that promotes inclusivity instead of exclusivity and division. One can use words like ‘they”, “we,” “our,” and the like. Terms like this can promote unity in the company, diverse and different the employees may be.

 In addressing members of the LGBTQ community, make sure that employees know the appropriate language particular to them.

Internalizing gender sensitivity

One, therefore, must be gender-sensitive in the workplace. Gender sensitivity is one aspect where a company can make significant strides in promoting LGBTQ inclusivity.  By promoting gender sensitivity in language, attitudes, and other aspects, the company orients the employees to be more respectful. It makes the employees more responsive to other employees.

Attitudes and biases towards the LGBTQ community must be discarded and never tolerated. Small talks, teasing, and other innuendoes that were at first harmless will usually harden into lifelong beliefs and attitudes about specific people, LGBTQ included. Employees must avoid it at all costs. The company must have policies prohibiting and discouraging such kinds of behavior.

Train and educate the employees

The need to disabuse the employees of prevailing attitudes towards LGBTQ

All of us came from a particular social background that we cannot escape. Those are accidents of circumstances and are already part of our orientation, socialization, and education. As such, we have all attitudes regarding others, whether we like it or not.  Social institutions molded those attitudes, and they have been doing so ever since.

Be as it may, atavistic attitudes regarding gender, minorities, and others are certainly a throwback from a bygone era. We made great strides in eliminating such kinds of attitudes and beliefs, together with other discriminatory practices. We continuously battle all those relics of the past. We have made significant success in our fight for social equality for all.

Whether through education and socialization or just by force of habit, other employees have old-fashioned values and retain those attitudes regarding race, class, or gender.  These attitudes are detrimental to the promotion of greater inclusion of LGBTQ in the workplace. The company must orient them towards accepting inclusivity and must be educated about the need for it.

Conduct workshops, seminars, and other educational activities

To do this, companies may conduct training, seminars, and workshops for their employees. The activities must focus on the issues of inclusivity and diversity. It will tackle and cover all the essential topics relative to both: the company’s policies, attitudes, and the values of the employees regarding LGBTQ.

The final two mentioned are of utmost importance. Policies the company will craft must be suitable to the needs of all employees but must also give allowance and space for inclusivity. Whether we like it or not, some policies, even if done in good faith, are just not responsive to the needs of everyone. They are even less responsive to the needs of LGBTQ.

Thus, seminars, training, and workshops would address the issues regarding employees’ attitudes about the inclusion of LGBTQ, their presence, and the experience of working with them. They will also address issues about proper and appropriate policies, their crafting, and their implementation.

One may also be guilty of being gender-insensitive, even though one is tolerant and promotes inclusivity. Values and attitudes permeate our personality and experience that sometimes we are unaware of our own bias. Sometimes, we never realize that we are also guilty of promoting values and attitudes detrimental to the fight for LGBTQ rights.

In this aspect, those activities are of significant help. They will train employees and employers alike about gender sensitivity, inclusion, and all those things. It will tackle proper behavior and conduct, so employees will never cross the line working with LGBTQ members.


Have a help desk

The need for an expert and separate desk

Make sure that you have an expert in your company with regards to the issues surrounding LGBTQ. It would be best to have a help desk to deal with issues surrounding LGBTQ in your company. It will deal with all the things and issues that bother the employees in the workplace.

Having one in your company is a significant step towards promoting inclusion and gender sensitivity and engendering proper conduct from other employees towards members of the LGBTQ community. It will promote confidence and trust among the LGBTQ. They will feel secured and protected.

As such, the duty of a help desk includes, but not only limited to, talking to the employees about LGBTQ inclusivity. They can conduct small talk or ask employees to do activities that will promote LGBTQ inclusivity in the company.

A reliable partner for promoting LGBTQ inclusion

In severe cases, the help desk will conduct investigations regarding specific problems and issues involving LGBTQ. They will also provide specific assistance and help to those afflicted or victimized in the workplace due to their membership in the LGBTQ community.

They can help in disciplining and punishing employees guilty of violations of policies about LGBTQ employees. The desk’s expertise will help clarify nuances that might escape even an expert company investigator or ombudsman. They can serve as an auxiliary to the disciplinary board of the company.

The office can also help in crafting and making policies for the company concerning LGBTQ. It will ensure that company rules and programs are in tune with the times, up to date, and not obsolete. They will also inform the company of current trends in issues surrounding the LGBTQ community and appropriately advise the company.

Celebrating cultural and sexual difference

We have all kinds of celebrations to honor and remember those things cultural and historical that are dear to our hearts as a people and a nation. Companies do participate in those celebrations and occasions. It reminds our people of the shared history and heritage that we all have.

The LGBTQ community, for most of its history, has been marginalized and oppressed. Things, however, are improving. And we, together with them, have made steps toward inclusivity and promoting social harmony.  It is the same thing with other oppressed and marginalized groups. When we talk about commitment to justice and equality, their fight is our fight as well.

Their success, therefore, is also ours. Therefore, it must be celebrated, not only by the LGBTQ community but by everyone.  As part of promoting LGBTQ inclusion, promoting proper attitudes, and harmonizing their relationship with other employees, we can celebrate their moments.


Pride march, for instance, is just around the corner. The company can participate or promote activities relating to the event. Participating in those events will remind everyone of the common cause of fighting for equal rights and opportunities for all.

The fight for LGBTQ rights, after all, is only the latest in our overall fight for rights and equal privileges. The move from a privileged society to one that promotes equality, social justice, and harmony has a long history that involves people from all walks of life. The LGBTQ campaign for inclusion in the workplace is not independent of that history and that fight.



Conclusion

The fight for LQBTQ inclusivity in society is a long and arduous process. On the whole, there is much success fighting and promoting equal rights and opportunities for them. However, the workplace is one area where we can make significant progress in ensuring that their rights are protected, just like everyone else.

Having those strategies mentioned is a sure way of promoting their inclusion. Of course, it is not easy, but we must do everything to ensure that everyone receives what is due, based on merit and qualification. We must do everything to ensure that discrimination, in all its aspects, becomes a thing of the past.

Society, on the whole, must continue fighting for social justice and equality for all. All the relics of the past, which promotes exclusivity and discrimination, must be erased and destroyed. Having strategies to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ members in the workplace is an excellent move in that direction.

What does LGBTQ / LGBTQ2+ / LGBTQQIP2SAA stand for ?

The LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ2+ or “LGBTQ2 Plus” full acronym stands for

  • L = Lesbian
  • G = Gay
  • B = Bisexual
  • T = Transgender or Trans-identified
  • Q = Queer
  • 2 = Two – Spirits
  • + = an inclusive representation of all the other identities ex. Non-Binary, Pansexual, Asexual and Intersex

LGBTQQIP2SAA full acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit (2S), androgynous and asexual

Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

What is the meaning of LGBTQ/LGBTQ2+?

Here are the meanings of LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ2+ or “LGBTQ2 Plus”

  • The meaning of L in LGBTQ2+ is Lesbian (a woman who likes woman)
  • The meaning of G in LGBTQ2+ is Gay (a person attracted to someone of the same gender – can be used by anybody but most commonly used for a man who likes another man)
  • The meaning of B in LGBTQ2+ is Bisexual (someone who’s attracted to their own and other genders)
  • The meaning of T in LGBTQ2+ is Transgender or Trans-identified (a person whose gender identity is different from sex on their birth certificate)
  • The meaning of Q in LGBTQ2+ is Queer (an umbrella term used to cover the entire/the broad range of LGBTQ2+ community). Sometimes it can be used as a short form to refer to being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender.
  • The meaning of 2 in LGBTQ2+ is Two – Spirits (identity used by indigenous people – a person who believes they have both male and female spirits within them)
  • The meaning of + in LGBTQ2+ is a plus – an inclusive representation of all the other identities ex. Non-Binary, Pansexual, Asexual and Intersex. There are many identities out there and are constantly evolving.

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What does Cisgender mean in one sentence?

Cisgender meaning and referring to someone who identifies as the sex/gender at birth. Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

What does Agender mean in one sentence?

Agender refers to someone who identifies has having no gender

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What does Pansexual mean in one sentence?

Pansexual meaning and refers to someone who is attracted to people of all genders and sexes.

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What does Asexual mean in one sentence?

The meaning of Asexual refers to someone who has little or no sexual attraction to others. Someone who identifies themselves as  not having a sexual orientation.

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What does Transexual mean in one sentence?

Transsexual is an outdated term that one shouldn’t use. It was once used to describe someone whose gender was different from sex assigned at birth. It was used to describe someone who seeks medical surgery to change their sexed body.

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What does being an LGBTQ Ally mean?

How to be a LGBT Ally at work?

Being an ally of the LGBT communities means you can be of any gender identity and/or sexual orientation and be a supportive, respectful and inclusive of the wide spectrum of LGBTQ2+ communities.

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Gay pride vs LGBTQ2+ pride

Gay pride can be viewed as exclusive. LGBTQ2+ pride is a more inclusive term to use.

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What does Sexual Orientation mean and examples?

Sexual Orientation refers to the sexual attraction to someone of the opposite, same or both sex or gender. Ex. heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, asexuality.

Sexual orientations can be targets of discrimination not only from outside of the LGBTQ2+ community but also from within. When we plan and implement LGBTQ2+ inclusion initiatives, we must take this into consideration.

Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

What are Examples of Sexual Orientation?

Sexual Orientation examples include lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual and pansexual.


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What does Gender mean in one sentence?

Gender refers to the sex that is assigned at birth. It is a sense of self – as a man, woman, non‑binary or gender-fluid person. Gender is influenced by biological characteristics and societal norms.

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What does Gender Fluid mean in one sentence?

Gender Fluid refers to a wide spectrum of gender identity /expression.

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What does Sex and Assigned Sex mean in one sentence?

Sex is usually assigned at birth (as male or female) by a medical practitioner based on external genital characteristics. It is based on biological characteristics ex. genitals, chromosomes, reproductive organs and hormones. When sexual and reproductive anatomy does not fall within the medical parameters used to assign sex as either male or female, a person may be described as intersex.

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What does Gender Identity mean in one sentence?

Gender Identity refers to the gender a person thinks or perceives to be. It may or may not correlate to their assigned sex at birth. Gender Identity is a person’s internal sense of self, a self-construct not necessarily visible/obvious to others.

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What does Gender Expression Mean in one sentence?

Gender Expression refers to the way in which someone expresses their gender identity through ex. their manners, interests, appearance and dress.

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What does Romantic Orientation Mean in one sentence?

Romantic Orientation meaning and refers to the sex or gender with which someone is most likely to have a romantic relationship or fall in love. Romantic Orientation is considered distinct from sexual orientation.

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What does Heterosexual mean in one sentence?

Heterosexual refers to someone who is attracted to people of a different sex. Heterosexual meaning is also known as “straight”. Ex. A woman liking a man. Or a man liking a woman.

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What does Homosexual mean in one sentence?

Homosexual refers to someone who is attracted to people of the same sex. Homosexual can also be expressed as “gay” or “lesbian”. Ex. A woman liking a woman. Or a man liking a man.

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What does non-binary mean in a sentence?

Non-Binary refers to someone who perceives themselves as being outside of the “man” and “woman” categories in the society. Ex. they may identify themselves as bigender, agender or non-binary.

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What does Questioning mean in gender context?

Questioning refers to someone who is questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. They are typically going through identity exploration.

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What is a Pronoun in Gender?

Pronouns refers to how someone wishes to be addressed. Pronouns can be added to email signatures.

It is a way to express inclusiveness and being respectful for a more inclusive environment for all.

Pronouns

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What are the Best Benefits of LGBTQ and LGBTQ2+ inclusions?

The top benefits of LGBTQ2+ inclusions are:

  • Better attraction and retention of employees (and their talents)
  • Wider spectrum of perceptions, experiences, skills, and relating to the business clients to offer better services/products to generate revenue
  • Better sense of belongingness to the company
  • Better team work and employee productivity
  • More cohesive community and workforce
  • Reduced risk of liability

More in Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion

Where Workplace areas can you implement LGBTQ2+ inclusions?

You can Implement LGBT and LGBTQ2+ inclusions in:

  • Hiring and retention
  • Policies and programs
  • Workplace culture
  • Employee support and engagement
  • Managers training
  • Employees training
  • Education and outreach
  • Client engagement and consultation
  • Client services and support
  • Company mission
  • Company commitment statement

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What are Quick Wins for LGBT LGBTQ2+ inclusion?

LGBT quick win examples are:

  • Provide safer space ex. use gender-neutral washroom signs
  • Add pronouns to email signatures
  • Start introducing yourself using pronouns in meetings and acquaintances
  • Use gender-neutral/gender-inclusive language in communication, policies/procedures, workplace forms ex. use “parent” rather than “mother/father”; use “partner” rather than “wife/husband”.
  • Remove questions around gender/sex if not needed
  • Communicate company’s Diversity & Inclusion commitment statement to all staff
  • Create resource groups/newsletters
  • Encourage pride celebrations

Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

How can I tell if someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?

The only way to tell is when someone tells you so. Never assume. Be mindful and sensitive to how you address someone.

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How do I approach someone who I think is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Try not to assume
  • Create a safe and comfortable atmosphere for someone to open up to you
  • Show that you’re comfortable with this topic
  • Show that you are supportive of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender concerns and communities
  • Build the trust and relationship
  • Let them know you are here if they’d like someone to talk to
  • Use inclusive language
  • Never ask a person what their assigned sex is at birth

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How do I know what’s the right “pronoun” to use?

  • Simply ask respectfully Ex. I want to be respectful. What gender pronoun do you use?
  • Or a better way would be start by sharing what pronoun you use yourself Ex. You can refer me as he or him. Or .. my name is XXX. My personal pronouns are X/Y/Z. Create a safe and inclusive space for the other person to open up rather than asking!
  • Respect someone’s self- identification

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How do I respond to homophobic jokes?

The best way to respond to homophobic jokes is to try to express your concern about the joke with respect. Not responding sends a silent message of agreement. Remember your stance is not to start an argument but to enhance inclusiveness and understanding.

Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

Where to find LGBT organizations?

Here is a list of the most important LGBT Organizations

What is an anti-LGBT emoji or Anti-LGBT Flag?

Anti-LGBT Emojis are emoji ( as to Anti-LGBT flags) that are used to refer to anti-LGBT movement. It is strongly discourage to use such emoji in any communications. Using an Anti-LGBTQ emoji is a bad representation of equality social values.

Best LGBT / LGBTQ / LGBTQ2+ Questions Videos




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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory