By Richard Lawrence-Allen
Here at RSVP it is perhaps possible to take for granted how lucky we truly are in terms of how richly diverse our workforce is. As a hub for artists and performers looking for flexible work to tide them over between creative pursuits, RSVP as a prospective employer attracts people of all different backgrounds and identities, from all areas near and far. This is something that we have always embraced and celebrated; however, never wishing to rest on our laurels, we wanted to see what we could do to go further in making our workplace one of the most inclusive spaces around. This is why we approached the charity, Stonewall, to become one of their latest Diversity Champions.
Named after the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, which are widely credited as being the inciting incident that led on to the gay liberation movement, Stonewall is a British-based LGBT+ rights charity and lobbying organisation that was founded in 1989. Stonewall is now the largest LGBT+ rights organisation in Europe. Its continued work can be credited in the successful lift of the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the British armed forces, the repeal of Section 28 (a clause of the Local Government Act 1988 that persecuted against LGBT+ people), the introduction of government regulations protecting people from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provisions of goods and services, and much, much more.
RSVP believes that a truly inclusive workplace is a powerful thing, and it is important to take inclusivity seriously so that all LGBT+ employees are accepted without exception. It is only when an individual feels truly able to bring their entire self to work, without withholding any part of their identity, that they can be their best self and offer their best work. In a 2018 report by Stonewall, it was discovered that over one third (35%) of LGBT+ staff have hidden their LGBT+ identity at work for fear of discrimination. In addition to this, 12% of lesbian, gay and bi people said that they would be uncomfortable reporting bullying based on their sexual orientation to their employer, 21% of trans people said that they would feel unable to report transphobic bullying, and 18% of trans people and 31% of non-binary people felt that they were not able to wear attire that reflects their gender expression whilst at work.
RSVP credits itself as being an open and supportive work environment and it is important to us that each and every staff member, regardless of their identity, is treated with equal respect and care. We have always been a great supporter of the LGBT+ community, with many staff within our organisation, at all levels of seniority, identifying as part of the LGBT+ community. Last summer, for LGBT+ Pride Month, we decorated the office (and staff) with rainbows, held our own Bake Sale raising money for the LGBT Foundation and filled our social media pages with our own in-house crafted LGBT+ positive memes. However, this year, along with our Pride Month celebrations, we would like to take our commitment to LGBT+ inclusivity further, making it truly part of the intrinsic make-up of the company. We feel that we do very well with LGBT+ inclusivity already, however, with Stonewall’s help and expert advice, we hope to do even better.
The LGBT+ Pride Mega Meme collection from 2018’s RSVP Pride Celebrations
In joining the Stonewall Diversity Champions program, RSVP joins a group of over 750 employers committed to LGBT+ equality and inclusivity that will help us stay on the forefront of LGBT+ friendly practices. RSVP represents a truly unique workplace set-up, and this set-up already attracts a wealth of vastly talented LGBT+ staff; with Stonewall’s help we hope to continue this trend with ever increasing success.
A photo from London’s 2018 Pride Matters Parade
Next week Stonewall celebrates its 30th birthday, roughly one month before the 50th anniversary of the riots that inspired it. Stay tuned to our blogs over the next month as we celebrate our own LGBT+ Pride and make sure to check out our upcoming LGBT+ themed content on our social media pages, @RSVPMediaUK on both Twitter and Instagram.
For more information about Stonewall and how you can get involved with their work, please go to their website here: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/