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Pride 2023: The role language plays in creating a safe space

24 Aug 2023

Maria Clowes

People and Culture Business Partner

We’re committed to supporting and developing a diverse workforce at Pick Everard. Throughout the year, we support a multitude of celebrations and events taking place over the UK and overseas to celebrate and embrace our LGBTQ+ communities. By celebrating and empowering the diversity within society and our Practice, each of us remains on a path of continual learning and developing which will further aid Pick Everard in delivering better together.

At Pick Everard we seek to actively encourage and create a safe environment for all our people to come to work feeling fearless and accepted regardless of sexuality or how they may identify. We’re doing so against a backdrop that continues to be challenging to navigate. According to recent research from Stonewall:

1 in 10 LGBTQ+ people have experienced barriers to progression.
1 in 8 LGBTQ+ people don’t feel able to disclose their identify to their colleagues.
1 in 5 LGBTQ+ job searchers felt discriminated against.

13% of the population is now part of the LGBTQ+ community, with our younger generations being far more familiar and embracing of this. It is all our responsibility within the industry, to break these barriers down and work to improve these statistics. We need to encourage sensitive conversations within our workplaces and educate ourselves and each other on how we can create a safe and all-inclusive working environment for our people. As an employer, we need to continually drive improvements by looking at data and implementing strategies and initiatives to drive up our EDI statistics and ensure people in the LGBTQ+ community are represented fairly across the Practice.

Inclusive language

One area that we’ve been giving consideration to at Pick Everard is the language we’re using. Language has a significant influence on the experience our people have. Inclusive language covers the words and phrases you use that avoid biases, slang, and expressions that discriminate against groups of people based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, and ability. I’ve considered the following examples:

Assumptions about pronouns

This is something that is becoming more common on social media profiles and within the workplace and is a small but easy way to show support, promote inclusivity and normalise conversations around gender. It allows transgender and non-binary people to let others know which pronouns they’d like to be addresses by and avoids them being misgendered. It can also be useful for people who have gender ambiguous names such as Sam or Alex.

Addressing group emails or messages to ‘Dear All’ or ‘Hi Everyone’ is a much more inclusive way to communicate as opposed to phrases such as ‘Dear Ladies and gentleman’. Or when discussing typical heteronormative language avoid using phrases such as ‘husband / wife’ or ‘boyfriend / girlfriend’ and practice terms such as ‘partner’ or ‘significant other’.

Avoid asking people what terms they ‘prefer’

Having a ‘preference’ can sound as if it’s a choice and most people do not feel as if they have a choice as the way they may identify is engrained as part of who they are. If you need to, you can simply ask people what terms they use when describing themselves.

No one will get the language right 100 percent of the time for 100 per cent of people. The important thing is to keep educating yourself and others with a conscious thought process. If you make a mistake apologise and continue the conversation.

Beyond this, we’ve been considering how can we create safe spaces for our people within the LGBTQ+ community:

Sharing ideas

As a Practice we actively encourage and promote sharing our thoughts, knowledge ideas and experiences amongst our people in order to further educate ourselves. We continually strive to do this through a variety of different platforms such as e learning, toolkits, guest speakers and promoting and attending events that embrace the diversity of our LGBTQ+ community.

Become an ally

Show your allegiance to the LGBTQ+ community by signifying you are an ally. This could be in the form of something as simple as wearing a rainbow lanyard, using a mug, pen or mouse mat at work that depicts your support. This will signify to colleagues that identify as part of LGBTQ+ that they are in a safe space and encourage them to be their authentic selves and feel comfortable they will not be judged in any capacity.

Be part of the conversation

Encourage conversations within our teams that enforce our inclusive values and culture so that all of our people feel part of one team and can work collaboratively with all colleagues. Challenge your own thought processes and those of others whose views may differ from what is considered the ‘norm’. Be mindful the majority of people will not be intending to offend or be ignorant to those identifying in a different way to them, they may just need further education and information to gauge a different perspective.

There is much work to do in our wider society in stamping out prejudice and discrimination that people identifying with the LGBTQ+ community experience in their day to day lives. However here at Pick Everard, we can lead by example and set a precedent for other businesses to promote best practices that align with the rights, needs and dignities our LGBTQ+ people deserve.

Proud sponsors of Leicester Pride 2023

The Leicester Pride Event is scheduled for Saturday 02 September 2023. Pick Everard actively encourages any of our people who can attend the event to go along to show your support and have a fabulous day out meeting new people!

Please click the link below for more details: Leicester Pride