Why LGBTQ+ Employees Need Allies in the Workplace 

Why LGBTQ+ Employees Need Allies in the Workplace
Ironically, unlike the orthodox norms for male and female genders, men who identify themselves as gay face no lesser hostile environment than women who identify as lesbians.

I was recently watching a Hindi film titled ‘Badhaai Do’ on Netflix where both the protagonists were homosexual. The film highlighted the constant struggles that members of the LGBTQ+ community experience in their lives.

Ironically, unlike the orthodox norms for male and female genders, men who identify themselves as gay face no lesser hostile environment than women who identify as lesbians.

As the film ended, I wondered if living in the closet is more difficult for people from this community than coming out in the open with little or no support from family, friends, and colleagues.  

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) has become a central focus, with organizations worldwide making consistent efforts to create a more inclusive environment and embrace all types of diverse talent.

However, when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, global statistics showcase that they continue to feel underrepresented and closeted.

A recent survey conducted by Mckinsey & Company indicates that two-thirds of gay and lesbian employees report being ‘only’ in the workplace and that LGBTQ+ employees are less likely to feel at ease while discussing mental health concerns.

Another study by University of Bath also reports that 45% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and 55% of transgender and non-binary people report some form of conflict at work.

The findings from these studies and surveys unveil the widespread alienation that the LGBTQ+ community encounters within workplaces, with far-reaching consequences impacting their personal lives, families, relationships, and even the overall dynamics of the organization. 

These metrics should compel every organization to establish sufficient support systems for the LGBTQ+ community, thereby allowing individuals to embrace their authentic selves to reach their full potential. One effective mechanism to achieve this is by fostering LGBTQ+ allies within the workplace.  

An LGBTQ+ Ally is a person who supports and advocates for the rights, well-being, and equity of individuals from this community, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Allies are people who actively spread awareness regarding fair treatment of the LGBTQ+ community at workplaces & beyond. They solve the following purpose(s):

Serve as Support System

The LGBTQ+ community is a relatively small portion of the workforce, making them a minority group. As a result, they may encounter biases and discrimination at the workplace, leading to unfavorable experiences. Allies play a crucial role in comprehending and supporting the community, as well as advocating for their equitable and just treatment.

Similar to providing counselling services within the organization, it is important to establish appropriate channels for the LGBTQ+ community to seek assistance during challenging situations. They help create a sense of belonging and acceptance, which is crucial for the overall well-being of LGBTQ+ employees.

Building an Inclusive & Aware Environment

By being allies, colleagues can contribute to a positive work atmosphere that benefits everyone. They lead by example and inspire others to be more inclusive. They bring attention to disconnects, aspirations, and feedback, thereby fostering greater understanding and synergy in the workplace.

Allies often champion this cause by organizing programs, webinars, workshops, and other initiatives to educate others within the workplace, spreading awareness and creating a more conducive environment for all.

Allies Help Attract and Retain Diverse Talent

A survey by Ipsos found that 60% urban Indians back companies supporting equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. Hence, observing such support systems in the workplace has a positive impact on attracting a diverse range of talented individuals. Moreover, it enables individuals to thrive and outperform at work.

Studies have also indicated that LGBTQ+ women who openly express their sexual orientation in the workplace are 50% less inclined to consider taking leave within a year compared to those who are closeted. These findings demonstrate the efficacy of such support mechanisms in facilitating personal growth and fostering a productive work environment and retention.

Career Advancement

LGBTQ+ employees may sometimes face barriers to career advancement due to bias or discrimination. There are multiple areas where allies can take a stand for more equity and help create a level playing field like bias-free recruitment practices, equal promotion opportunities, having gender-neutral infrastructure & facilities, etc. 

It’s important to note that being an ally is an ongoing commitment. Allies should actively listen, learn, and engage with the LGBTQ+ community, continually challenging their own biases and privileges. By fostering inclusive environments, allies help create workplaces where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive, contribute their unique perspectives, and feel valued.


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