This is Us: LGBTQ+, work and intersectionality

Everyone benefits when we can fully be ourselves at work. Ahead of October’s This is Us conference, speakers Gamiel Yafai and Karen Kwang explain why we all have a stake in this important conversation.

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Now in its second year, Events Together’s This Is Us conference is helping employers, organisations and leaders understand how employees can bring their whole selves to work.With businesses and service providers feeling the full effects of key demographic trends like the multigenerational workplace and talent shortages, society has never been more attuned to diversity and the need for inclusion.

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Opening the door to opportunity for all

A ground-breaking conference, This is Us and its one-day programme hosted by award-winning role model Jacqui Gavin approaches this interconnected topic from an LGBTQ+ perspective.Studies show that a more diverse and inclusive workforce leads to increased productivity, and greater success, but being regarded as an LGBTQ+ inclusive employer can help attract and keep the best talent in the marketplace.However, as event speaker, organisational psychologist and executive coach Karen Kwong, explains, people who identify as LGBTQ+ often face significant challenges at work, which is why the conference is important. “My session on the importance and value of authenticity against challenging headwinds is about helping people to become more resilient,’ says Karen. “The statistics are absolutely horrific for people the LGBTQ+ community. 

Addressing structural disadvantage

“More than a third say they have to hide the fact because of fear of being disadvantaged," continues Karen. "Most feel bullied or abused. This is all within a system; if you tell people every day that they don’t fit in, it plays on you.“The LGBTQ+ community is one I’d like to learn more about. It’s alright for me to say people need to be more resilient, but what are HR leaders and managers doing to help people in this way? If you are a business, what are you doing to support your people?“If you’re not doing anything or not focused on these issues, you are closing doors. You’ve got to be inclusive and send this message all the time. The more we learn from each other, the more progress we make.”

Intersectionality and creating LGBTQ-friendly workplaces

A high-calibre roster of speakers will join Karen on this year’s event programme, including Emily Coates, Community Co-Director of GLEAM, the internal LGBTQ+ employee resource group at Microsoft; Monumental Marketing founder, Jamie Love; Sanisha Wynter, Voice and Campaigns Officer at Girlguiding; Christopher Sharp, co-founder of Racing Pride; and Gamiel Yafai, MD of Diversity Marketplace. They will present inspirational and valuable insight across a range of pertinent diversity and inclusion topics, including technology, authenticity, resilience, intersectionality, allyship and the importance of networks and alliances.With intersectionality a hot topic in the diversity and inclusion realm, Gamiel Yafai will explore what seeing an individual as an individual rather than as a series of protected characteristics really means.“The more we are able to be ourselves, the more we can contribute and the more confident we can become,” says Gamiel. “There is a real need to create more champions and role models across society. I’m really looking forward to learning what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in today’s environment.”

The importance of allies and effective practice

“Issues surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals within the workplace can have severe, ongoing effects,” says Meena Chander, who established the This Is Us conference after working with gay mentors and seeing their struggles first-hand. Meena now works alongside companies and create allies to help support the LGBTQ+ community. “As leaders, we must address these issues and work together to create permanent solutions,” Meena continues. “By creating more opportunities for dialogue, and working as allies, we can help to build and offer more support, trust and create environments where individuals can thrive.“It’s vital that workplaces are trusting environments, not only without prejudice and discrimination, but also with the tools to understand the issues that affect LGBTQ+ individuals.“The conference will educate, inform and help businesses to implement long term strategies and policies to help drive their business forward.” Registration is now open for This Is Us 2019. Tickets can be purchased for £65.00 + VAT. To book a place and for more information visit: www.events-together.co.uk/thisisus. Competition to follow. If you would like to showcase what your business is doing around LGBTQ+ inclusion and diversity, or would like to partner or sponsor with This Is Us, please contact Meena Chander on meena@events-together.co.uk
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