We must build ‘better world’ to tackle rife homophobia in the workplace, says sports star John Amaechi

Employers are being encouraged to address homophobia at work after it revealed that one in five lesbian and gay people have experienced bullying from colleagues due to their sexual orientation.

Anti-homophobia group Stonewall’s third annual conference in Manchester on sexual orientation, equality and diversity in the workplace will be held on Friday June 6 at the Palace Hotel.

Basketball Legend John Amaechi OBE, X Factor star Marcus Collins, Barclays Retail Banking Managing Director Adam Rowse and Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Gary Millar will all be highlighting best practice for employers whilst discussing their own experiences.

John told MM: “I know that people perform better when they can be themselves, which is why it’s so vital to build a world where people feel able to be open about their sexual orientation.

“I’m excited to talk to and hear from delegates and businesses who are leading the way in creating inclusive workplaces.”

In the last five years, 2.4million people of working age (13% of the national workforce) have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying at work.

A further 800,000 people admitted to witnessing physical homophobic bullying at work and it was found that over a quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not open to colleagues about their sexual orientation.

Since legislation to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people at work from discrimination was introduced in 2003, Stonewall has been instrumental in transforming the UK workplaces of over 650 employers for LGB people.

The conference this week will be an all-day event with breakout sessions, keynote address, panel discussions, workshops, presentations and information clinics. It will also be an ideal opportunity for businesses in the city to network and socialise with 200 senior professionals.

Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: “After securing equal marriage in England and Wales, people mustn’t forget the huge amount of work still to be done.

“No one should be under any illusion that it’s ‘mission accomplished’. In workplaces right across the country, gay people still don’t feel able to be themselves. It’s time to change that once and for all.”

Each year, Stonewall receive hundreds of submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, their audit of workplace culture for gay staff, and release their Top 100 Employers, an annual guide to Britain’s top employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.

The LGBT charity works tirelessly with employers across a range of industries to improve the lives of Britain’s 1.7m-strong gay and lesbian workforce.

To book tickets for the event, visit Stonewall’s website.

Image courtesy of xtraonline via Youtube with thanks

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