Expert opinion carefully crafted to help senior leaders across the public sector to embrace complexity, find new ways of thinking and solve problems.

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month with pride at IMPOWER

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Being IMPOWER | 0 comments

LGBT+ History Month is a month-long celebration across the UK in February of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) history. It provides an opportunity to recognise the accomplishments and challenges of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history, acknowledge the important role they have played in shaping our society and culture, and promote greater acceptance and understanding.

At IMPOWER, we work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all employees. As cliché as it sounds – our people really are the heart of the company, so fostering an inclusive culture is really important to us. That’s why we hold regular diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) forums to bring together colleagues from across the organisation to discuss all things DEI.

At our February DEI planning meeting, we agreed that acknowledging and celebrating LGBTQ+ history was too important to be an optional activity. That’s why we made it part of our monthly company-wide meeting which we call ‘People Friday’ (it was actually on a Wednesday last month, which really threw people). We asked colleagues to participate in some interactive activities using post-it notes, flip chart paper and pens (our delivery teams were chuffed, they love a post-it note) and provided rainbow cupcakes to mark the occasion. Some of us may have had more than one…

Colleagues highlighted inspirational figures like Cara Delevingne (for her openness and honesty about her journey), Justin Fashanu (as the only ‘out’ footballer for a long time), Russell T Davies (for his screenwriting and production) and Tom Daley (as a high-profile advocate for LGBTQ+ rights). But advocating for LGBTQ+ rights is not solely the responsibility of public figures – we must all be allies.

When asked how people could be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community, colleagues provided practical advice such as: respecting and championing pronouns, avoiding making assumptions about others’ gender/sexuality, educating ourselves through books and podcasts, and calling out (and ‘in’) poor behaviours of others. These actions are important in creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals, and promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion.

LGBT+ History Month marks an opportunity to educate people about the experiences and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community – and an opportunity to call people ‘in’ to deepen their understanding and learn more about LGBTQ+ prejudice. Colleagues shared some helpful TV, film and podcast recommendations, including the tv series ‘Heartstoppers’ and ‘Pose’, the films ‘Milk’ and ‘Pride’, and the ‘Cautionary Tales’ podcast. Titles including ‘When God was a Rabbit’ and ‘Being an Ally’ made the reading list, and there are plenty more out there to help deepen our understanding and empathy.

At IMPOWER we’re committed to providing opportunities for open discussion, learning, and action, with the ambition of creating an inclusive workplace for all employees. We are already looking forward to International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March – we’ll be facilitating a panel of IMPOWER colleagues on the day and will share the themes afterwards.