How to support LGBTQ+ employees throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
In times of crisis, exclusion is a greater threat to some more than others. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, the risk of homelessness, insecure employment, restricted access to healthcare and other inequalities deepen. Additionally, Stonewall’s LGBTQ+ in Britain Health Report shows that those with multiple marginalised identities can struggle even more.
It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are supported throughout this crisis and experience no additional burden as a consequence of their circumstances. This means paying particular attention to what you can do for your LGBTQ+ community, especially in Pride season.
The impact of Covid-19
Firstly, it is important to understand the impact Covid-19 may have on your LGBTQ+ community, remembering not to make assumptions as everybody’s experiences over this period will be unique. Some possible challenges your employees may have faced include:
- Deterioration in mental health: Mental health issues are known to be disproportionate in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Healthcare challenges: Transgender individuals may struggle to access hormone treatments or have appointments they have waited years for cancelled.
- Housing insecurity and abuse.
- Identity challenges: The distinction between work and home is now blurred. LGBTQ+ individuals have been cut off from their networks. People might be residing in unaccepting households.
What can I do to support LGBTQ+ employees?
As previously mentioned, each employee will have their own unique challenges throughout this period. Some employees may not experience any additional challenges at all. It is important to tailor your approach for each employee, so firstly, encourage open conversation to establish what your employee wants/needs and what they would like you to do to help. Below is a list of some things you might consider to support your LGBTQ+ employees more generally:
- Support wellbeing by providing access to educational resources and wellbeing apps, have weekly check-ins and organise virtual social events such as quizzes.
- Be compassionate and flexible.
- Work with your employee networks – networks play a vital role in supporting employees through a challenging time by providing a safe space as well as an opportunity to socialise with others who may be facing similar challenges.
- Keep raising awareness and support remotely through social media.
- Provide opportunities for professional development and education on LGBTQ+ issues.
- Celebrate Pride: Use hashtags on twitter/Instagram, encourage employees to share stories and decorate social media with Pride flag in support of community.
For more ideas and insight a recording of our recent webinar can be found here.