Being an ally to the LGBTQ+ in your workplace (and in your life) means becoming an advocate for someone other than yourself. Eden Health is dedicated to delivering compassionate care by putting patients first, so it’s no surprise that we hire team members who share our integral values of compassion, empathy, and acceptance.
This Pride Month, read more about how individual team members can hold themselves accountable to becoming strong allies and making your workplace a safe, inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees.
- Be an active listener.
There’s an old adage that says most people listen with the intent to reply, not with the intent to understand. The art of active listening is an important one when it comes to supporting your LGBTQ+ coworkers — it helps us suspend any biases or judgements we may have initially. Active listening also helps to facilitate empathetic communication by demonstrating that you’re hearing, understanding, and reflecting on what is being said to you.
- Engage in continuous education.
Allyship isn’t a one-and-done elective course credit — it’s a lifelong commitment to learning about the lived experiences of those whose backgrounds do not mirror your own. As one Eden employee put it:
“In the past, I watched LGBTQ+ colleagues dance around conversations about their social life because it meant coming out to new clients and project teams over and over again. When I became the manager of an LGBTQ+ colleague, I realized that to be a true resource for this person, I had to continue my education on professional biases and institutionalized decisions in the workplace.”
If your workplace doesn’t already have management training or Diversity and Inclusion initiatives that center the LGBTQ+ experience, you could 1.) ask that those resources be made available and 2.) Search independently for training programs or coursework that will help you be a better manager or coworker to everyone in your organization.
- Practice advocacy whenever you can.
While acceptance and education are important, it’s important to put what you’ve learned into practice. Putting in the work in your personal life is a good place to start — educate family members and close friends about LGBTQ+ issues, donate to organizations that are working to fix systemic inequalities for LGBTQ+ people, and become a more informed citizen yourself.
All of these things will better equip you to handle the hard scenarios you may encounter at work — like how to correct coworkers who use incorrect pronouns for another employee, for example.
While you may never understand someone’s unique LGBTQ+ experience, you can believe that they feel pain in a world that doesn’t always accept their full humanity. Remember: becoming an ally isn’t about the individual aiming to be one, it’s about being a genuine advocate for others through acceptance, education, and advocacy.