How To Be An Ally To The LGBT Community
We were delighted to announce a new WIBF event focusing on ‘How to be an ally to the LGBT community’. Given that women can be often in the minority within certain workforces, it makes sense for us to try to better understand other minority groups and ensure we are aligning ourselves as an ally to them and supporting each other in mutual goals.
Supporting LGBT members within the workforce and community is something that has been a topic of conversation recently and with that it’s brought a lot of questions around how you can actually show your support and what you can do to make a difference.
Louise McErlean - Trainee Solicitor at DLA Piper kindly agreed to speak on this inclusive topic. Louise is part of the Glass Network Committee who are committed to providing a safe and free space for LGBT+ members of the Scottish Legal profession and their allies to network, as well as ensuring visible support of LGBT+ Equality in the workplace.
Louise outlined ways in which you can make a positive contribution in simple ways such as properly listening and being willing to learn, asking questions to ensure you understand as best as possible and always aiming to treat everyone with the same respect you would like for yourself. Louise discussed that although there is often a fear of being offensive when speaking on a topic you are unsure of, 9 times out of 10 if someone understands that your intent was genuine, and you meant well then, they are unlikely to be offended if you use incorrect terminology. All you can do is be willing to learn going forward. Louise also covered the issue of ‘minority stress’ which is a concept developed by sociologists and psychologists to explain the unique pressures faced by members of minority groups. This highlighted the many parallels experienced by minority groups and demonstrated that you often have a lot more in common than you think.
The event was an interesting and informative discussion which suggested some great and easy ways to ensure you are aligning yourself as an ally. Even knowing that someone in the workplace or your wider network is an ally to you can have a massive impact on making you feel more supported and alleviate some feelings of loneliness.
The event also provided a safe space to ask questions and genuinely improve your knowledge with likeminded individuals.
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