Lesbian Visibility Week: the importance of advocacy and allyship in the workplace

Lesbian Visibility Week: the importance of advocacy and allyship in the workplace

This week marks Lesbian Visibility Week: seven days to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of lesbians worldwide. In the UK, we’ve seen a significant increase in the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the technology sector, with many businesses owned and operated by lesbian entrepreneurs.

We cannot talk about diversity in the technology industry without mentioning Lesbians Who Tech, which supports more than 15,000 members in over 35 local chapters globally, and hosts events in nearly 40 cities. This organization is committed to increasing visibility, empowering lesbians and queer women, and helping them succeed in the technology industry. Lesbians Who Tech has been instrumental in creating a supportive community for LGBTQ+ individuals in the tech industry, by providing coding scholarships and sponsorships for underprivileged queer women who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a career in tech.

Queer Code is a non-profit community that provides support and a safe, inclusive environment for queer people working in software development. They strive to challenge and change structural inequalities in tech and promote underrepresented groups in the sector. Almost one thousand members meet up regularly for talks, workshops, and networking events in central London locations.


How can you encourage LGBTQ+ inclusion in your tech business?

Encouraging LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace is crucial for creating a welcoming and diverse environment for everyone. The tech industry, in particular, can benefit from creating an inclusive workplace as it is key to innovation and business growth.

A study conducted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), showed that 30% of young LGBT people in the UK aren’t considering a career in tech due to concerns about discrimination.

Kat Pagdin, Infotel UK’s Head of People & Talent, prides herself on fostering an inclusive environment in our workplace:

The smallest of wins make the biggest impact.

I’m a strong believer in advocacy, and I feel it’s important to have champions within a business to promote diversity, support and mental health.

When I first came out, there was no real support from your managers or the companies I worked for. Not like there is now. I only really felt comfortable talking to my colleagues I associated with, or within the LGBTQ+ community at work, we felt like a small group of people hiding away at times. Today, in the role I am lucky to have, I urge supporters to come forward and speak up, they could be parents, sisters, brothers or cousins of someone that is struggling with their own sexuality, why should people that are LGBTQ+ be the only influencers. I urge everyone from all walks of life to foster a healthy, and accepting work environment.

If we can create at least one environment for someone to feel safe and that be the place they will be spending most of their time then I think this can be such a positive step moving forward.”

To make your workplace more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals, here are some exciting ways you and your colleagues can drive positive change:

Educate yourself:
Educate yourself on LGBTQ+ issues, such as pronouns, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ rights. This can help you be more inclusive and understanding of your LGBTQ+ colleagues.

Use inclusive language:
Use inclusive language in your conversations and communications. Avoid making assumptions about someone’s gender or sexual orientation, and if you’re not sure, ask respectfully.

Advocate for change:
Advocate for change within the company by suggesting policies and practices that promote inclusion. This can include gender-neutral restrooms, diversity training, and inclusive benefits.

Be an ally:
Be an ally to your LGBTQ+ colleagues and support them in their personal and professional lives. This can include using their correct pronouns, standing up for them when necessary, and offering support and resources.

By taking these steps, employees can help create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace for everyone, including LGBTQ+ individuals. And as we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week,  it’s essential to recognize the contributions and achievements of lesbian entrepreneurs in the technology industry. These businesses and organizations are paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive industry, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish next.