An environment of safety and inclusion is something that we all want in our families, community and workplaces.
Right now, our society is in the midst of a debate on marriage equality. We’ve seen, heard and read anti LGBTI+ messages in the media and in society. One result is that LGBTI+ community and allies are exposed to negative messages and conversations about LGBTI+ people.
The impact is real. Research from the United States shows that the mental health of LGBTI+ people suffer significantly during these debates on marriage equality, with anxiety increasing by up to 248 per cent (that’s not a typo, 248 percent) and cases of depression by over 35 per cent.
If you are part of the LGBTI+ community and need access to confidential support, here are some services available:
- QLife – Free national LGBTI+ phone and web counselling, coast to coast. 1800 184 527 | qlife.org.au
- LifeLine – 24/7 Crisis Support & Suicide Prevention Services. 13 11 14 | lifeline.org.au
- #staystrong tips from ACON, click on the attached image and visit their website!
To cope with the negative messages, LGBTI+ community & allies may rely and depend upon their family, friends & colleagues. What can LGBTI+ allies do to support colleagues, family & friends?
- Acknowledging the potential impact on people;
- Checking in with identifying people, provide reminders of support available;
- Sending a strong message of inclusion;
- Knowing what is and what isn’t a respectful debate on the postal survey;
- Calling out non-inclusive language;
- Keeping up to date with the campaign on marriage equality;
In addition, you can also consider doing or advocating for the following within your workplace:
- Profile the diversity work within your business;
- Reiterate your workplace values supporting inclusion & respect;
- Send a strong message of inclusion as a leader.
Let’s work together to create an open, inclusive and safe community and workplace.
Cover image: Shutterstock